MONMOUTHSHIRE County Council has stopped short of joining calls for a Water Protection Zone on the River Wye amid ongoing concerns over pollution.

The council agreed that the level of phosphates in the river were of concern, but did not join their counterparts in Herefordshire in calling for government action.

Herefordshire Council leader David Hitchiner has urged the UK Government to bring in measures such as a a Water Protection Zone (WPZ) to protect the Wye from further pollution.

WPZs can implemented as part of plans to control pollution and to prohibit or restrict activities which are likely to result in pollution or detrimental effects on hydromorphology (what is in the water).

The Wye has excessive algae growth, often caused by high phosphate levels.

Campaigners claim problems are created by run-off from poultry farms in the area. Sewage has also been cited as a cause.


Last month, Herefordshire council voted unanimously for a WPZ for the Wye catchment.

However, this is something which only a government minister can implement.

Monmouthshire County Council, which oversees an area through which the Wye also flows, has decided not to follow suit with Herefordshire.

In a statement, the council acknowledged the "significant concern" posed by phosphate levels, but stopped short of calling for a WPZ.

A Monmouthshire County Council spokesperson said: “The level of phosphates in the River Wye is of significant concern. 

“Not only is this leading to environmental harm, it is also affecting our ability to meet other policy commitments such as the provision of affordable housing and proposed education and health development.

“Much of the pollution has entered the river before it crosses into Monmouthshire and we are working with all partners and stakeholders both in England and Wales to understand the sources of the problem and to explore all avenues to tackle this issue.”