by Gavin McEwan

PROMINENT celebrities have added their voices to concern over the pollution in the River Wye.

Linking to an article on the river in last Friday’s Guardian, author and broadcaster Stephen Fry told his 12.4 million Twitter followers: “Wye oh Wye – read and weep.”

Meanwhile, Gardeners’ World presenter and Herefordshire resident Monty Don, also retweeting the piece, wrote: “It is appalling that this is condoned. It has stop.

“Factory farming is turning this beautiful British river into an open sewer.”

In the article, journalist and campaigner George Monbiot argues that the Wye “is on the brink” due to pollution from the large numbers of chicken “factories” now operating in Herefordshire and Powys.

The £1 million-a-year profits these can generate “might help to explain the intimidation and vandalism reported to me by some of the local people who object to them”, Monbiot writes.

One such local quoted in the piece fears that “someone’s going to get firebombed or shot” as a consequence.

Consultation on the latest bid to create a 215,000-bird intensive chicken unit in Herefordshire, in Lower Hergest by the river Arrow, ends today 14 June.

Meanwhile, Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman last week called in Parliament for a national recovery fund for rivers, funded by fines on polluters.

An “all-river strategy… might be a solution to the Wye’s problems”, he suggested.

By Gwynoro Jones

Former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones joined the team covering politics in Wales. He has a wealth of experience in politics and has been a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspapers in Wales. Email: gwynorojones@walesnewsonline.com

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