Rivercide! Chris White's commentary

Chris White

Richard,

I am sending this to you as can you please pass this on as I don’t have the email address for the person who now looks after the Conwy.

I am not sure if you saw the telecast by George Mobiot the other night if not this is now on YouTube (RIVERCIDE with George Monbiot & Charlotte Church – YouTube) this video is 1 hour long (you can skip the end as it is just Charlotte Church singing!). 

The video focuses on the pollution on the Wye, the potential causes of this pollution and the lack of action in controlling the sources of the pollution.  Lesley Griffiths was interviewed but the head of the EA did not respond. 

Whilst the focus was on the Wye it is applicable to all of our rivers.  I raise this as from what Rich White said the Conwy below Betws is Brown which probably indicates high levels of phosphate resulting in an explosion of diatoms.  The sewage treatment plant in Betws is known to release raw and treated sewage into the Llugwy and despite the promise from Welsh Water that they would sort this out it is still happening.  If you remember I also expressed concerns about the Chicken farm at Fron Bella and the spreading of the chicken manure on land above the Afon Nugg, there are also dairy farms on the upper Conwy and overgrazing of sheep to contend with.  The recent heavy rain may well have washed the manure into the feeder streams on the upper Conwy catchment. I doubt that there is anything we can do now as the stable door was left open a long time ago allowing this type of pollution to occur and we now probably just have to watch as the Conwy slowly goes into decline.  It would be interesting if NRW could carryout regular monitoring of phosphate levels in the river or more likely we will have to buy our own monitoring equipment and supply NRW with our findings.  It would be nice to think that NRW will be proactive but I doubt this will happen, as I pointed out at the Byelaw Inquiry it is not the anglers catching fish which is the problem it is the survival from egg to smolts which is the issue I.e. the mortality of fry and parr due to pollution resulting in fewer smolts going to sea.  Sadly despite the work the Trust carries out the source of the pollution is not being effectively addressed, Lesley Griffiths explained that she had introduced legislation but this is too little too late and wont be fully implemented for three years.

Chris

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