6 September 2022
Jesse Norman calls for cross-border action to tackle the threat of phosphate pollution of the River Wye

Jesse Norman raises the threat of phosphate pollution of the River Wye and calls for cross-border action to tackle the issue for the betterment of the Wye and the whole catchment area.

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire) (Con)

As my right hon. Friend knows, the River Wye is a priceless national asset, threatened by phosphate pollution. He also knows that the Wye is unusual because it crosses the border between Wales and England and the majority of its phosphate does not come from sewage companies, and therefore it will not be as affected as other rivers by the thoroughly laudable measures that my right hon. Friend has taken. Will he make a note to his successor, if there is one, and to his officials now in the Box, that the next administration of DEFRA, if there is one, should take the matter up with great energy and authority, and press the cross-border issue, for the betterment of the Wye, the whole catchment and this country as a whole?

George Eustice (The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

My right hon. Friend raises an important point, in that there are sometimes cross-border issues. While we are taking leading action in England, we obviously also need other devolved Administrations, including in Wales, to play their part to address the challenge, particularly in catchments such as the Wye. I am aware of the point that he makes on phosphates. We are consulting at the moment on reducing nutrient pollution—both nitrogen and phosphates—from both agriculture and sewage treatment works, and I am sure that when the results are published they will give the impetus that he requires and requests for agriculture to be tackled.