Green Party and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Call for Protection of River Wye

The Green Party and renowned chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are advocating for the establishment of a “protection zone” surrounding the River Wye in the UK. The River Wye is not only one of the nation’s most beautiful rivers, but also faces significant threats. Fearnley-Whittingstall and Ellie Chowns, the Green Party candidate for North Herefordshire, conducted a pollution assessment before participating in a wild-swimming event on Wednesday.

Fearnley-Whittingstall, a member of the Green Party, voiced his exasperation: “I have a deep affection for swimming in rivers and the ocean.” I feel frustrated by the necessity of ensuring our safety prior to entering. He characterised the Wye as a “aquatic desert” because of its elevated toxicity levels, expressing sorrow over the disappearance of previously flourishing lively aquatic life in its waters.

The decrease in the Wye river’s health has been attributed to the extensive use of poultry farming. Phosphorus-rich poultry manure is frequently applied to land, resulting in the pollution of rivers. Recently, the river’s status was lowered by Natural England as a result of the decreasing populations of important species such as the Atlantic salmon and white-clawed crayfish.

The Green Party suggests establishing a water protection zone to assist in the restoration of the river and significantly increasing financial assistance to farmers for implementing environmentally-friendly methods by almost three times within the next five years. Fearnley-Whittingstall stressed the necessity of implementing more stringent laws on the disposal of manure, advocating for the provision of financial incentives to promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural methods.

The Green Party’s comprehensive agenda encompasses the nationalisation of water businesses, allocating £12 billion towards sewage and water infrastructure, and augmenting the Environment Agency’s budget by £1.5 billion to enhance regulatory measures.

Lou Le Rey, a resident of the area, has observed significant alterations in the river’s well-being, specifically pointing out the vanishing of ranunculus weed and the deterioration of water quality. David Gillam, the chairman of the Save the Wye campaign, advocates for the establishment of a protected zone, emphasising the necessity of enacting legislative frameworks and providing assistance to farmers.

Chowns, following his swim in the river, emphasised the significance of safeguarding this renowned waterway, asserting, “The availability of uncontaminated water is an essential entitlement of every individual.”