What are regulators for? Wye, Wye, Wye?

There have been a few local media reports about Wild Justice taking legal action on the shocking state of environmental protection on the River Wye but we haven’t said anything about this case until today when we talked to the respected ENDS report.

This just happens, a complete coincidence, to follow a long and good piece about the River Wye on the BBC R4 Today programme yesterday. Have a listen to it – click here (1:35 – 1:45) – it’s a good summary and well worth listening all the way through to the remarks of Jesse Norman MP, where he said he was much less confident about progress than the report made everything seem, and ‘I do not think it is right at this stage to strike a note of confidence of any kind‘ , and ‘The agencies involved, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and the Environment Agency have, in my view, done a deplorable job, so far, in their failure to come together with an all-river action plan‘.

That sounds about right to us, which is why we have been in legal correspondence with all three agencies for the past couple of months. Previous spokespeople in the piece seemed to be happy with the progress that had been made – we don’t think they should be. The trouble is that the progress made is a bit like a debtor paying off their massive debts at the rate of a pound a month – you can call it progress if you like, it’s marginally better than nothing, but it really doesn’t do the job, and never will.

The Wye is a Special Area of Conservation (see here) and should have, in theory does have, the highest environmental protection that the UK can hand out, but as the radio piece said, last year it turned lime green because of pollution. That doesn’t sound very protected to us, and it doesn’t sound much like progress.

Wild Justice has given the three agencies the chance to get things right, but we haven’t gone away and we will be monitoring the situation closely over the next few months.

Wild Justice told ENDS: Statutory agencies exist to regulate damaging activities. The Wye is a test case. Wild Justice is watching things closely.