TACKLING the issue of river pollution in Wales has been made more complicated by devolution, according to the MP for Monmouth.

Responsibility for water quality in Wales rests with the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales. But this means responsibility for rivers, streams and other water courses which cross the border - such as the River Wye - lies with different organisations at different sections.

Monmouth MP David Davies believes devolved matters overseen by the Senedd are not helping with finding a united solution.

“One thing we have learnt when it comes to dealing with the impact of pollution on the quality of our rivers is that devolution is making matters more complicated, especially when you have a river such as the Wye forming part of the border between England and Wales,” he said.

Mr Davies was one of 265 Conservative MPs who, in October, voted against an amendment to a bill, which campaigners claim effectively allows private firms to dump sewage in rivers.

The Conservatives said that the new measures stopped short of an outright ban on waste going into rivers because the sewage network is "Victorian".


They said that, had MPs supported an outright ban, there was "a real danger that at times of extraordinary pressure, raw sewage could end up flooding back into people’s homes".

“I have called on the Welsh Labour Government to replicate the measures being taken in England to reduce the amount of sewage being pumped into the water,” said Mr Davies

Mr Davies added some people wanted to make “a rather gratuitous political point” by suggesting MPs had in fact voted in favour of discharging foul waste into people’s homes – describing it as a “complete untruth”.

However, water quality campaigner and wild swimmer Angela Jones has been quick to condemn Mr Davies' decision to toe the party line on the issue.

She branded the MPs voting stance a "disgrace".

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Our new Programme for Government commit us to work towards designation of inland waters for recreation and this year alone, we are investing nearly £10 million to improve water quality.

"We are driving improvements in river pollution in a similar way to our successful approach to identifying and improving coastal bathing waters.

"We established a Management Oversight Group earlier this year and we’re continuing to work closely with partners, including the farming sector, to tackle water quality issues in Wales’ nine Special Area of Conservation rivers, including the Wye and Usk.”