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Petition to save dying Welsh river made to Senedd

04 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Anglers by the River Teifi. Photo by Robin Drayton is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Bruce SinclairLocal Democracy Reporter

A petition calling for more to be done to tackle pollution and save the dying River Teifi has been made to the Senedd.

The petition, ‘To act to increase the effectiveness of Natural Resources Wales in halting pollution on the Teifi,’ created by Moira Wiliams, reads: “The river Teifi is dying due to levels of pollution.

“We call on the Senedd to increase the funding to Natural Resources Wales to enable it to fulfil its obligations in relation to the monitoring of the health of the river and the enforcement of legal requirements.

“We also call upon the Senedd to ensure that Natural Resources Wales is held to account for its performance. This would help to safeguard the Teifi for future generations as proposed in The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015.

“Levels of pollution on the Teifi are high. Numbers of salmon, otter and other aquatic life are in serious decline.

“The Teifi is a Special Area of Conservation that is under threat from pollution and climate change. Data provided by Natural Resources Wales indicate that its poor water quality means 78 per cent of the water bodies in the catchment are classified as poor or moderate under the Water Framework Assessment.

“Similarly, large sections of the river are failing phosphate target levels and a study by Natural Resources Wales indicates the Salmon and Lamprey populations are at risk of extinction in the next 15 years.

“Climate change has resulted in low water levels in spring and higher water temperatures which have enhanced the growth of algal blooms and depleted oxygen levels in the water.

“In 2022 the river experienced 1,889 sewage spills from combined sewage outfalls which lasted 14,079 hours, the sixth worst river in England and Wales for sewage spill duration.”


The petition has attracted just under 200 signatures to date; all petitions with more than 250 signatures will be discussed by the Petitions Committee.

Responding, Carol Fielding, environment team leader from Natural Resources Wales said: “We share the wider public concern over the state of our rivers and are actively working with key stakeholders on addressing the causes of poor water quality, as well tackling other challenges such as invasive species and declining fish populations.

“We are already working in partnership through Nutrient Management Boards to address phosphate pollution and work to achieve the conservation objectives of our SAC rivers for the long term.

“Our flagship Four Rivers for LIFE project is also underway delivering improvements on the ground to help restore the Teifi to favourable condition.

“Our local teams deliver a 24/7 service and investigate approximately 100 environmental incidents reported to us every year in the Teifi catchment ranging from slurry spills, damage to special habitats and unpermitted sewage discharges.

“We are using all the evidence available to us to target our efforts and resources in the areas where we can make the most impact.”

Earlier this year, a Welsh Liberal Democrat analysis of sewage dumping statistics released by Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru said the River Teifi was ranked the ninth most sewage polluted in the entire UK with sewage being dumped in the river for 11,801 hours last year.

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