Dedicated investigation team probing source of major Llynfi pollution incident

A dedicated Natural Resources Wales (NRW) investigation team is probing the source of a major pollution incident that was reported on 31 July in the Afon Llynfi, a tributary of the River Wye.

The team consists of both environment and regulatory officers bolstered by a team of laboratory analysts, NRW solicitors, fisheries officers, and biologists.

Team members have investigated a number of sites of interest and have spoken to the operators of those sites. A fish-kill assessment has been carried out and samples have been taken for chemical and biological analysis. Team members have also spoken with local anglers and residents to gain more information to help inform the case.

Ann Weedy, Operations Manager for Natural Resources Wales in mid Wales said:

"We know that local people care deeply about the river and are very upset about the impact this has had on the fish population. We share that concern and getting to the root cause of this incident remains our top priority.

"We also share the sense of impatience in wanting to know what polluted the river and where it came from. We are working as hard as we can and leaving no stone unturned to build up as strong a case as possible for any enforcement action. These things take time and we will provide updates as regularly as possible without jeopardising future enforcement action.

"The pollution that struck the Afon Llynfi has had a devastating impact. We are now confident that at least 10,000 fish have died and the wider river life and vegetation has also been impacted. This is not acceptable.

"Not only is the sheer scale of the incident extremely serious, it struck in a Special Area of Conservation which was an important habitat for species including bullhead fish, lamprey and crayfish." 

Chemical and biological sample analysis have been returning from the laboratory and more results are expected in the near future. This analysis is informing the investigation.

Jenny Phillips, NRW Environment Officer for south Powys said: "Everyone who is working on the investigation has a real passion for the environment; it's why we do our jobs. We are on the ground on a daily basis investigating leads, questioning people of interest and taking samples to be tested in our laboratory.”

The investigation is ongoing as the team follow a number of leads.

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