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Campaigners to appeal to the Supreme Court to halt development that could pollute River Wye

02 Feb 2023 4 minute read
River Dore – Photo: David and Susan Sahota

Campaigners plan to take a legal challenge all the way to the Supreme Court to stop a farming development that could pollute the River Wye and Dore.

Plans given the green light by Herefordshire Council would see the construction of a giant livestock shed at Bage Court Farm in the village of Dorstone and legal campaigners are fighting to halt the project to protect the river.

Not for profit campaign organisation the Good Law Project is supporting the legal bid to stop the development going ahead as the manure run-off generated could see yet more ecological damage inflicted on the Dore – a tributary of the River Wye.

Flowing across the border between England and Wales, the River Wye and Dore are designated as a special area of conservation but have long been affected by the impacts of agricultural pollution.

Run-off and slurry from intensive farming in Powys and Herefordshire is spilling into the river and damaging the habitats of a range of internationally important species.

The hard-fought legal efforts of campaigners so far – led by local resident, David Sahota – have been unsuccessful as The High Court and the Court of Appeal have both endorsed Herefordshire Council’s rubber-stamping of the development.

Good Law Project is aiming to overturn these decisions in the Supreme Court.

The River Dore winds through the Golden Valley in Herefordshire


EU environmental law contains a precautionary principle, about how you manage risk stating that where environmental harm is uncertain you don’t have to wait until that harm is evident before you act.

To progress to a full appeal, the Supreme Court first needs to be convinced that the issues raised by this case are of “general public importance”.

The Supreme Court takes on only a few cases each year and success would have national implications by raising the bar before new livestock developments are approved.

So far a crowd funder petition has seen pledges of £47,000 out of the £57,000 needed to cover the costs of the appeal.

Legal Director of Good Law Project, Emma Dearnaley, said: “It is devastating to see the Wye, one of our nation’s best loved rivers, slowly dying from the impacts of intensive farming and agricultural pollution.

“The latest threat comes from a proposed livestock development on the banks of one of its tributaries, the River Dore. If this goes ahead as planned, we will see the river’s habitats and biodiversity further damaged by a deluge of slurry and run-off.


The noted vegan and ecologist, Mr Dale Vince has agreed to match every pound donated, up to £40,000, to support Good Law Project’s work in the environmental field.

Dale Vince said: “The approval of a new factory farm on the banks of the Dore flies in the face of clear evidence of the overwhelming pollution caused by existing factory farms on the river and goes against what the local community wants.

“If we win this case in the courts it could also make it more difficult for factory farms in the future, not just on the Wye but all over England. This is a vital legal action”.

Local campaigners, David and Susan Sahota, said: “The residents of Herefordshire, the elected councillors and local authority have inherited a pocket of our country filled with beauty and culture.

“But with the approval of a new livestock development on the banks of the River Dore, the council has woefully neglected to preserve this for the future of our children.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

It beggars belief just how low these custodians of the countryside will go, but at the same time, the corruption of those in public office, be it local or national, has spread in recent years. To me it is the Fat Shanks effect, it, like cancer, has spread throughout those with power in our society, a class on the make without a thought for nature. From the Wye to the Amazon, the pillaging of the land and sea in one last grab for wealth and resources before Gaya uses all the tools at Zeus, Jupiter and Indra’s disposal to be… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Mab Meirion
Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 year ago

The sheds full of chickens are just a part of the problem. When they take the waste to anaerobic digesters such as the one on the Llynfi outside Talgarth it gets serious. The concentrated waste that often leaks from the industrial versions kills rivers at one hit. Add to that the huge increase in heavy goods vehicles through the hairpin bends at Dorstone or heaven forfend they go over the top to the listed historic Bredwardine bridge.

The Dore does not enter the Wye directly but joins the Monnow at Pontrilas.

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