Issue 11

Yet Another Major Pollution Incident!

by David Griffiths
30 Jan 2018

Just a week ago I wrote about sorting out the details for the new season which starts in March on the fishery which I run, Llyn Coron on Anglesey.

The thrust of my article being concerns about the increasing threat from agricultural pollution in Welsh waterways, and the abject failure of responses from NRW.

Well, the worst has already happened. On Thursday 25th and Friday 26th of January 70,000 gallons of farm slurry was released into one of the lake’s feeder streams, Afon Gwna!

A good deal of the contents of the leaking slurry tank now sit in the lake and the effect on spawning redds and fish stocks in the river remains to be seen. In fairness, the offending farmer self-reported to NRW who responded swiftly. However, further impact investigation, sanctions or prosecution, if any, remain to be seen.

The state of the river at the time was indescribable. Water as thick as treacle, almost pure slurry with the accompanying stench! My photos are inadequate …

We are fortunate that representations are already being made most strongly at the highest level of WAG / NRW.

Also, the following letter from Anthony Rees (Chair: Angling Cymru) was published today in the Western Mail and on Wales Online.

Legislation needed after slurry spills

A slurry spill has entered the Afon Gwna at the headwaters of Llyn Coron, a migratory trout lake in the heart of the west Anglesey dune system.

This pristine environment and wildlife area is renowned for its wild brown trout and sea trout fishing on Llyn Coron, drawing anglers from across the UK and abroad.

Once again a vital natural resource has been blighted by slurry, this time on a unique dune lake on the west coast of Anglesey, with over 4km of the lake’s main spawning stream being affected as well as the lake itself.

This is a real disaster both for the fishery, the local angling association, and for Anglesey.

Angling Cymru must question what is going on in Wales. This is not the first time this has happened in Wales but this is the first time there have not been reports in the local or national papers.

Angling Cymru’s understanding is that 70,000 (yes seventy thousand) gallons of slurry has entered the river. We maintain that if this had been from industry a major outcry would have been the result. It also beggars the question as to why these storage tanks, unlike those in industry, are not bunded, thereby lessening any damage.

The important part about this is that this stream runs into Llyn Coran so any slurry on hitting a large body of water will settle in the lake. The four kilometres downstream of the incident has been badly affected. This area of Anglesey is classed as an AONB. Many fishermen go to this lake and it is important for the economy of the area. Recently the rivers trust in the area has been awarded funds to work on these small rivers so important to Wales.

The current rash of legislation that is coming out in Wales while very welcome such as the Future Generations Act, and the Environment Wales Act must be challenged with the question as to how these far-ranging proposals will be achieved. Recent questions as to how Natural Resources Wales, and we must not forget that two staff surveys carried out did not rate it highly (now conveniently forgotten)will ever be able to carry out the work that it is required to do unless more funding is made available to it. Someone must take a long hard look at what is happening. Glossy papers and reports will not help the Welsh environment work is needed on the ground.

Rivers are acknowledged as one of the main corridors for wildlife to travel along and where urban pollution was once the major problem this has now transferred to being rural pollution.

Individuals, third party institutions such as wildlife and rivers trusts have questioned for some time that legal and statutory legislation is needed; this incident again is proof of that.

Anthony Rees
Chairman, Angling Cymru

I echo Anthony’s comments and am actively campaigning accordingly. The support of my visitors at Fishing in Wales is invaluable.

Thanks for Reading

May I thank you once again for supporting this site. I look forward to hearing from readers with your feedback and opinions. Please feel free to comment below and add your voice to the discussion.

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Until next time, thanks for reading.

David Griffiths
Editor, and keen angler!


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