Mark Drakeford hosts summit to discuss solutions to river pollution at Royal Welsh
The First Minister will host a summit today at the Royal Welsh Show to identify ways of reducing pollution in Welsh rivers.
Representatives from local government, farming unions, the building industry, water companies, regulators and environmental agencies, together with food producers will attend the meeting with Mark Drakeford at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Showground in Builth Wells.
Among the problems being addressed at the summit will be the impact excessive phosphorus levels are having on rivers and their wider catchment areas and potential problems in future affecting food production and housebuilding in the longer term.
Last week an ‘amber’ alert was issued for the river Wye warning of another lethal “algal bloom” because of the hot weather and lack of rain.
Concern about pollution in the Wye – which starts its journey at Plynlimon in mid Wales, snakes into England then forms the border between England and Wales before reaching the Severn Estuary – has been mounting over recent years.
A Natural Resources Wales (NRW) study last year found more than 60 per cent of the Wye and its catchments fail against targets for phosphate levels, which is linked to the triggering of excessive growth of algae.
The Welsh Government is investing £40m over the next three years to tackle river pollution and to protect the environment and describes improving water quality as a priority due to its central role in the response to the nature and climate emergencies.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Mark Drakeford said: “It is only by working together that we can tackle phosphorus pollution in our rivers.
“This is a complex issue and there is no one easy answer – we all have a part to play if we are to reduce the level of phosphorus and tackle the root causes of pollution.
“We must work together with the farming sector, with food producers and the water industry to find solutions to these problems, which is why I have called this summit at the Royal Welsh.”
Minister for Climate Change Julie James, who will take part in the summit. said:
“We must act now to tackle the high phosphorus levels in our rivers that impacts so negatively on the environment.
“We will continue to work with all our partners to address these challenges.
“The resilience of our marine and freshwater ecosystems and the benefits they provide must not be jeopardised for future generations.”
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