SOS: River Wye & Tributaries are Being Poisoned by Industrial Farming

by Residents of the Golden Valley

SOS: River Wye & Tributaries are Being Poisoned by Industrial Farming

by Residents of the Golden Valley
Residents of the Golden Valley
Case Owner
We are a group of residents of the Golden Valley in Herefordshire. We are committed to honouring the past and protecting the present and future of this special part of the UK.
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Case Owner
We are a group of residents of the Golden Valley in Herefordshire. We are committed to honouring the past and protecting the present and future of this special part of the UK.
Pledge now

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Latest: May 25, 2021

The Waiting Game

Dear Friends

We had a long and stressful day in court yesterday and now we must wait for the judgement. Our barrister set out the case in great detail and with eloquence. We must hope that the facts h…

Read more

The Issue 

The beautiful Golden Valley in Herefordshire is once again under threat from toxic pollution leaching into its rivers.

Herefordshire Council has just granted approval for expansion at an industrial livestock farming unit at the mouth of the Golden Valley. Before granting permission, it failed to carry out a proper impact assessment as it is required to do by the Habitats Regulations and it did not even take account of its own environmental policies as set out in its Core Strategy.

This case has been brought by a local resident who believes that Herefordshire Council has acted unlawfully and is being supported by many others living in the Golden Valley and Upper Wye Valley.  The case is being supported by the  Golden Valley Action Group. With your help we can overturn this disastrous decision.

Background

On 3 June 2020, Herefordshire County Council gave its approval to a planning application for the expansion of large agricultural sheds at Bage Court Farm in Dorstone. 

This decision failed to consider the environmental and ecological impacts of the development on the River Dore. The Dore, which is a tributary of the Monnow, is in the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC) catchment. The rivers in the SAC are already severely ecologically stressed, in large part because of pollution from intensive poultry and livestock farming. 

There has been a long history of successful community opposition to intensive agricultural developments at this farm. The Planning Committee failed to consider the cumulative effect of shed development at this location. The new application to erect another large shed on the site, which is already densely populated with large livestock buildings, must be considered as a further attempt to develop intensive livestock farming by stealth at this farm.

Moreover, this case is happening at the entrance to the Golden Valley, where the water courses feed into the iconic River Wye. Algal bloom from agricultural run-off has significantly altered the ecology of the SAC.

Experts have told us that this algal bloom has ‘’eradicated one of the principal habitats, namely ranunculus, from the bottom 70 miles of river'' and that the rate of impact is ''exponential.'' 

This, in turn, threatens many other species who depend on the rivers, including otters, white clawed crayfish and salmon. These issues have been widely reported on by national and local media.

The Case

The resident is challenging the failure by Herefordshire County Council on:

1. Failure to undertake an assessment of the development under the 'Habitats Regulations' and, as a consequence, failing to protect the River Wye and its tributaries from further deterioration, even though the site is in the Catchment area of the River Wye, which is a SAC and a Site of Specific Scientific Interest.

2. Failure to apply its own policies, set out in the Herefordshire Core Strategy, that development proposals should conserve and enhance heritage, natural and scenic beauty, protect and restore local biodiversity and assets.

The Aim

In the first instance we are trying to protect our rivers and wildlife. But this is also an issue about the planning process, and about every Council’s legal duty to act lawfully. A Council cannot be allowed to ignore the Habitats Regulations and its own environmental policies.

This case is of huge importance to everyone who cares about our natural environment and protecting it from bad decision-making.

With help from all our hundreds of friends and supporters, we have met our initial crowdfunding target of £25k. This has enabled us to pay for the legal advice we need to make a strong case to the Court and to obtain leave to bring a judicial Review against Herefordshire Council.  We are now attempting to reach our stretch target of £50k. This will enable us to take our case all the way to judicial review

You Can Help

This case has national relevance. If we succeed, we will have ensured that planning decision makers in England and Wales cannot bypass the rules designed to protect sensitive natural systems from harmIt is in the public interest that this planning decision should be quashed.

Your support is essential in challenging the lack of a proper process by Herefordshire County Council. 

Please help us protect the Country's rivers by donating to the Crowdfunding appeal. Every donation matters and will be very gratefully received. You can also help by sharing this page widely.

Many thanks for your help. 

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Update 17

Residents of the Golden Valley

May 25, 2021

The Waiting Game

Dear Friends

We had a long and stressful day in court yesterday and now we must wait for the judgement. Our barrister set out the case in great detail and with eloquence. We must hope that the facts have been established and that the judge was listening. We will update this page as soon as we have any further news.  

We are deeply grateful for all of your support to date but, alarmingly, we have still not met our fundraising target. Can you possibly dig a bit deeper to help us reach it?

Hopefully

Residents of the Golden Valley 




Update 16

Residents of the Golden Valley

May 21, 2021

High Court Hearing on May 24th 2021

Dear Friends

The clock is ticking down towards Monday morning, May 24th, and our hearing.

We had hoped against hope that the Council would concede this case at the eleventh hour and admit that they had made the wrong decision.  At a recent meeting of the Nutrient Management Board, attention was drawn to the development of “unapproved pig units” which are “described as sheds”, with no one asking if it is a pig unit. It was suggested that pig farms are appearing without being scrutinised. This was referred to as “pigs by stealth.’’ Referring to planners, it is suggested that these developments have “have caught them out.’’ This is what has occurred at Bage Court Farm. However, Herefordshire Council appears to be blind to the evidence and prepared to waste even more of scarce taxpayer’s money defending an indefensible decision.

The context is changing, however. Last Sunday’s BBC Country File has drawn further attention to the poor condition of the Wye and its tributaries. Evidence is accumulating about the high nutrient levels of the Wye catchment which are feeding algal blooms and damaging the flora and fauna. Last year, parts of the Wye were so thick with algae that it was reported as being as green as pea soup . This is a death trap for wildlife. Natural Resources Wales and Natural England say there is no crisis in our rivers and that there is no link between the intensive poultry and stock rearing units (IPUs) yet data from the monitoring of the River finds huge phosphate spikes soon as it passes IPUs. Early results from limited monitoring of the River Dore by local people suggests that there may be a similar pattern.

The apathy & inactivity of our regulators is shocking, but concern is mounting in communities along these beautiful rivers. We are not going away.

We heard today that only lawyers can attend the court hearing on Monday in Birmingham but that it is possible to join remotely.  If you want to do this, please email the court directly on:

 birmingham@administrativecourtoffice.justice.gov.uk

The Case No: CO/2511/2020 

So, a tense weekend lies ahead for us. Many thanks for all your support, words of wisdom and financial contributions along the way. It is all massively appreciated.



Update 15

Residents of the Golden Valley

May 20, 2021

The Ticking Clock to May 24th

Dear Friends

The clock is ticking down towards Monday morning, May 24th, and our hearing.

We had hoped against hope that the Council would concede this case at the eleventh hour and admit that they had made the wrong decision.  At a recent meeting of Herefordshire Nutrient Management Board, attention was drawn to the development of “unapproved pig units” which are “described as sheds”, with no one asking if it is a pig unit. It was suggested that pig farms are appearing without being scrutinised. This was referred to as “pigs by stealth.’’ Referring to planners, it is suggested that these developments have “have caught them out” (as at Bage Court). However, Herefordshire Council appears to blind to the evidence and is prepared to waste even more of scarce taxpayer’s money defending an indefensible decision.

The context is changing, however. Last Sunday’s BBC Country File has drawn further attention to the poor condition of the Wye and its tributaries. Evidence is accumulating about the high nutrient levels of the Wye Catchment which are feeding algal blooms and damaging the flora and fauna. Last year, parts of the Wye were so thick with algae that it was reported as being as green as pea soup . This is a death trap for wildlife. Natural Resources Wales and Natural England say there is no crisis in our rivers and that there is no link between the intensive poultry and stock rearing units (IPUs) and the Wye’s pollution yet the Citizen Science project, set up by Friends of the Upper Wye (FOUW) finds huge phosphate spikes in the River as soon as it passes the IPUs. Recent monitoring of the River Dore by local people has found a similar pattern.

The apathy & inactivity of our regulators is shocking, but concern is mounting in communities along these beautiful rivers. We are not going away.

We heard today that only lawyers can attend the court hearing on Monday in Birmingham but that it is possible to join remotely.

If you want to do this, please email the court directly on:

 birmingham@administrativecourtoffice.justice.gov.uk

The Case No: CO/2511/2020 

So, a tense weekend lies ahead for us. Many thanks for all your support, words of wisdom and financial contributions along the way. It is all massively appreciated.



Update 14

Residents of the Golden Valley

April 23, 2021

High Court Hearing on May 24th 202: the final stretch

Dear Friends

We have been hoping against hope that Herefordshire Council would see sense and concede that a mistake was made last year when the Planning Committee gave permission for more agricultural buildings at Bage Court Farm without undertaking Habitats Regulation Assessments. We are sorry to report that the Council appears to be determined to defend this flawed decision all the way to the High Court despite the mounting financial and reputational costs.

There is something very wrong about a Council that is willing to use tax payer's money to undermine protections for local river systems at a time when concerns are mounting about the terrible state of the Wye and its tributary rivers.

'' Shocking levels of damaging phosphates have been found in one of the Midlands' biggest rivers, as chemicals washed in from farmland and other waste combine to create a potentially deadly cocktail of pollution.''

People who use the River Wye through Herefordshire say they are already seeing plant, fish and bird life dying off - a problem which experts warn is contributing to a “global crisis” for our waterways.

Buoyed by the generosity of your support, we are equally determined to give the rivers a voice. We will meet the Council, confidently, in Court on May 24th. Can we ask you, once again, to stand with us and send a powerful signal to the Council about the level of concern about this case? We need your help to achieve the final stretch of our fundraising target.

Please donate if you can and share this final appeal for funds widely.

Thanks so much for all your help on this long and difficult journey - and see you all in Court.

Update 13

Residents of the Golden Valley

March 7, 2021

High Court Hearing on May 24th 2021

Dear Friends

The date is set for the High Court Hearing. On May 24th, we will present all our expert evidence to objective and impartial scrutiny. We believe that our case is strong both legally and morally and it is clear from the level of support for this appeal that many people locally, nationally and internationally agree with us. 

We now need to raise the rest of the money we need. Can we ask you to donate again? Or to share the link to this appeal far and wide?

Herefordshire County Council continues to side with the polluters with deep pockets. A Council which has declared a Climate & Ecological Emergency is determined shunt all the financial risks arising from principled action to protect precious local assets onto the communities which elected them.  What a disgraceful state of affairs!

We may not have deep pockets but as this case has shown, we have access to wide and generous ones.

Many thanks for all your help up to now.

See you all in Court. 

 


Update 12

Residents of the Golden Valley

Feb. 11, 2021

Herefordshire County Council: who controls the planning process?

Dear Friends

Sadly, we still have no good news to report. Herefordshire Council (HCC) is clearly hell-bent on pursuing this flawed case to the bitter end. Whilst HCC has taken this bizarre position, we note that Powys County Council (PCC) has recently reacted to public pressure by quashing a planning decision to allow an IPU at Knighton. PCC conceded that it acted unlawfully; that the application should not have been approved, because there was no evidence before the Planning Officer to support the conclusion that the impacts on amenity would be acceptable because the fields would be “unlikely to be spread more than twice per annum”. In other words, it could not be assumed that the spreading of manure to dispose of it would not impact adversely on the local population or on people using the local area for recreation. HCC are taking a different view. They will fight it to the end, costing them potentially several tens of thousands of pounds in public money.

With the help of all those who have supported this crowdfunding appeal, we have presented independent hydrological and ecological evidence that Bage Court Farm is on the headwaters of the River Dore and therefore within the River Wye catchment and SAC. Notwithstanding this powerful new evidence, we have been told that the same decision would be taken again.

As a result, we still need to raise an additional £20k to prepare for the case to be heard by a judge in the High Court.

This case is, fundamentally, about the unauthorised use of agricultural buildings for the intensive rearing of pigs and associated unauthorised development. All effluent from the expanded Bage Court farmstead potentially flows untreated and uncaptured directly into the River Dore and the Wye catchment, which is already failing its Habitats Regulations/Water Framework Directive targets due to poor agricultural practices. We argued that these developments will have additional adverse impacts on the River Wye SAC, air quality, amenity, the landscape, and highway safety. These arguments were NOT considered by Councillors on the Planning Committee who, consequently, made the wrong decision on June 3rd, 2020. This is what we are challenging through judicial review.

As we wait for a hearing date from the Court, we have been doing a lot of thinking about why the Council is defending this flawed decision so vigorously. So far, the only explanation we have gleaned is that 'the process' that they followed 'is what they have always done.’’ So, for HCC, it is business as usual instead of a new response to an escalating climate and environmental crisis. The UK Government recognises that we need changes in how we think, act, and measure economic success to protect and enhance our prosperity and the natural world. The recently published Dasgupta Review,  an independent, global review on the economics of Biodiversity, commissioned by The Treasury, underscores the importance of taking nature into account in economics and decision-making.

In this context, HCC’s position is deeply alarming. It contradicts both the letter and the spirit of recent advice (not related directly to our case) from the Assistant Director for Regulation, Environment & Waste stating that:
"Herefordshire Council needs to be seen to be totally transparent on any such application, given the local and national interest in the impact of the manure from (these) installations impacting the Wye SAC. The Executive are totally supportive of this action, although it is an officer decision and not a political one. This applies to the entire Wye SAC, which is effectively the entire county”.

This statement raises important questions relating to the nature of the democratic process in Herefordshire. We need to ask, publicly:

  1. Have the elected members of HCC formally delegated decisions of such sensitivity to officers?
  2. If so, when was the decision taken to delegate such decisions to officers?
  3. How does a delegation of planning decision-making align with the requirements of the Council’s constitution?
  4. How ‘transparent’ is this schedule of delegations? How is democratic accountability upheld? How are these decisions scrutinised?
  5. Is the Executive aware of this statement and do they agree that these decisions are delegated to officers?

We call upon HCC to provide answers to these questions and set out a ‘transparent’ rationale for continuing to defend this perverse decision. So far, this is as clear as the untreated effluent which is flowing into the River Dore.

Our grateful thanks once again for your continuing support.



Update 11

Residents of the Golden Valley

Jan. 18, 2021

Once More Unto The Breach To Protect Our River Systems!

Dear Friends and Supporters
Another year begins. Despite the grim situation we find ourselves in, nationally and globally, we hold the hope for better times ahead and wish you all the best for 2021.

We have had unwelcome news from Herefordshire Council (HCC) who will press on to a full judicial review of this case, ignoring the evidence set out in expert ecological and hydrological reports, which were submitted before Christmas. We were astounded to hear last week from the Council’s lawyer informing us that, under instruction from the unnamed client (the Council’s own environment and planning officers we presume), HCC will proceed to a hearing before a judge. 

Our expert witnesses have provided persuasive evidence that Bage Court Farm falls within the catchment of the River Wye. This means that HCC’s defence of its decision to grant planning permission for a further agricultural building at this site is wrong. All such developments within the River Wye catchment require assessments under Habitats Regulation. The Council failed to undertake these assessments before recommending planning consent in June 2020.

Remarkably, this comes exactly a month after HCC councillors voted overwhelmingly to reaffirm the Council’s Declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency. We are forced to ask whether this is  a paper exercise and an expression of genuine commitment to tackling the local risks to climate and ecological systems. If so, how will the Council ensure that it will have a meaningful impact on policy and practice?  Currently, it appears that unelected Council officers continue to follow a path that seems to contradict the aims and intentions of this declaration and the expressed priorities of most councillors. This is, surely, yesterday’s Council business? It is most certainly not today’s or tomorrow’s. It denies the importance of the environmental crises in which we all find ourselves and the urgency of finding new ways forward.

We want to emphasise that the importance of this case goes far beyond the impact of a planning decision at one farm in Herefordshire. The environmental implications address a vital point of national principle. The aim is to clarify for all of us the powers and duties of local authorities in protecting major rivers and, critically, their catchments.

If a balance between development and the wellbeing of our rivers cannot be re-established then we leave a terrible legacy for the generations that follow us.

So we must steel ourselves urgently for the next stage of our legal battle. To do this we need to raise an additional £20,000 to fund the high court battle. Your generosity has allowed us to get this far and, once again, we must ask for your support. 

Please donate if you can and, critically, please, please promote this appeal as widely as you can.  



Update 10

Residents of the Golden Valley

Dec. 26, 2020

River Systems Need Strong Advocates

As this strange and challenging year wends its way towards its close, we want to thank all our supporters for providing such energetic and generous support, both financial and moral, with this case. We had hoped to have some definitive news by now but, frustratingly, are still waiting for Herefordshire Council (HCC) to respond to our expert witness statements and recent communications from our lawyers.  

While we wait, it is worthwhile reflecting on what recent events have revealed about the state of our rivers in Herefordshire and throughout the land. In a recent incident, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust discovered that a stretch of the River Lugg, around a mile long, had been bulldozed. This will have a significant impact on wildlife in situ and downstream as well. A huge amount of soil has been released into the water, which will smother gravel beds where fish such as salmon and trout spawn. The lack of vegetation will mean that every flood this winter will result in more soil being lost into the water.

Normally, work of this kind requires different types of consent from a range of government’s statutory environmental agencies. There are varying reports from different parties involved about the reason, and permission, surrounding this incident.  

As the Green Alliance argues in this recent blog, this local incident underscores three general points:

1. Statutory agencies need resources to be the guardians of the environment 

2. An independent environmental watchdog will be a vital safeguard 

3. We must work with landowners to promote good soil and flood management techniques 

We believe that we have a test case for the kind of advocacy our rivers need. Once again, we call on HCC to stop defending their decision and work with us to address all the points made by the Green Alliance. Taking this case all the way to judicial review is, surely,  in nobody's interests and is a total waste of tax payers money? Can we make 2021 the beginning of a new, collaborative approach to protecting our precious environment?

Season's greetings to all.




Update 9

Residents of the Golden Valley

Dec. 2, 2020

Wye Are We Waiting?

Dear Friends and Supporters

It has been a while since we updated this page, and we must thank you for your patience. We, like you, have been playing a waiting game as the evidence for the case has been accumulated and placed before Herefordshire County Council (HCC). We look forward to the Council's response.

 With the generous help of everyone who has donated to this campaign already, we have been able to commission detailed reports from highly qualified hydrologists and ecologists. The evidence set out in these reports supports fully our argument that Bage Court Farm is within the hydrological catchment area of the Wye and is therefore in a Special Area of Conservation. This means that HCC has a duty to undertake an assessment of the impact of new developments in this location under the Habitats Regulations. The Council failed to do this when it granted planning permission for further agricultural building at this farm.

We contend strongly that HCC made the wrong decision in this case. We very much hope that the Council will concede this point and will withdraw from proceeding to a full legal hearing. This would not be in the interests of taxpayers in Herefordshire or of our precious environment. 

It is quite clear that the world is changing about our ears. Only yesterday the Government published a seven-year transition plan for agriculture. This switches the money, currently £2.4bn a year, pumped into farm support from merely subsidising an industry to safeguarding the countryside and supporting good food and animal welfare. In this rapidly changing context, it is neither good economics nor good policy for HCC to continue to support yesterday’s agricultural business models which have enabled and supported intensive stock rearing to the detriment of precious natural assets.

We are incredibly grateful to all of you who have supported us to date.


Update 8

Residents of the Golden Valley

Oct. 12, 2020

Protecting our Watercourses, Challenging Vested Interests

The screws are suddenly tightening on two councils (Hereford and Powys) plus a Welsh Government body. This is because of years of failing to preserve the River Wye and prevent devastating levels of pollution due to lax oversight of industrial farming.

There was a remarkable turnaround on Monday 5th October. Natural Resources Wales revealed publicly that the Upper Wye has exceeded its permitted phosphate levels for at least the last four years. They want re-adoption of more stringent levels that were relaxed in 2016.

At the same time it was revealed that the Environment Agency has “10 officers on the ground in Herefordshire checking that the basic rules for water are being followed. These officers found 22 breaches in one week”.

The Wye and Usk Foundation (WUF) believes the “regulator will soon be advising County Councils in SAC catchments across Wales that any domestic, industrial or agricultural planning application will need to offset its phosphate impact on the river”. Phosphate levels entering the river must be reduced. Also there must be “retro-fit solutions where poor planning decisions have previously been made”.

This all has clear downstream implications for Hereford County Council (HCC).

That is why our Judicial Review is such an important test case, both locally and nationally. It challenges HCC over what we say is its inadequate consideration of a Trojan Horse planning application which in reality is for developing industrial scale pig production at Bage Court farm. A High Court Judge has already ruled that we have a case.

Councillors voted to permit this without being asked to insist on a drainage system to manage slurry, effluent and manure. The industrial run-off would then flow untreated into the Dore, Monnow and Wye watercourses.

Despite enormous public pressure and the new evidence, Hereford Council’s position remains that it has not “erred” or “failed” to consider the cumulative ecological impact of the development its officers recommended for approval.

As the Wye and Usk Foundation wrote this week: “There are those who retain a strong interest in the status quo”.

Given the new public pressure about sustainability and the “ecological disaster” of the Wye, this is an old world view that our costly Judicial Review is challenging. That is why we must continue to build a war chest of money, with your help. We need significantly more funds. This is to fight what we assume will be the determination of Hereford Council to spend huge amounts of the county’s severely depleted budget to defend the indefensible. This would be in direct defiance of the new evidence like this week’s revelations plus the fast growing public concerns.

So please spread the word and keep supporting us in any way that you can.

Update 7

Residents of the Golden Valley

Sept. 21, 2020

We Have a Case!

The campaign received excellent news from the High Court on Friday 18th. A planning judge ruled that our central case against Hereford County Council (HCC)is justified.  He decided: ‘It is arguable that the defendant [HCC] erred by failing to take into account the cumulative effects of the proposed development, and thereby failed to consider whether the proposal was likely to have significant effects on the River Wye SAC and/or undertake an appropriate assessment’.

Public awareness of the deteriorating state of our river system is growing fast. A local petition to protect the Wye by imposing a moratorium on planning permission for new and extended intensive poultry units in Powys rapidly collected over 76, 000 signatures. Last week, the Environment Agency published a devastating account of its own failures nationwide to improve the conditions of rivers, including the Wye. Instead conditions are getting far worse with experts already describing an “ecological disaster” in the Wye catchment area.

Local MP Jesse Norman is suddenly expressing public concern. He has urged an “action plan to address this serious problem” for “one of the great glories of Herefordshire and the Marches”.

Our legal challenge to Hereford Council is no longer just a local issue in the Wye water catchment, including the Dore Valley. It has fast become a widely quoted test case with nationwide implications for all rivers.

Our campaign has had this success thanks to your generous donations. They have given us the financial support to prepare our legal case so far. But now we still face the prospect of more hugely expensive legal stages in the coming weeks. Hereford Council can fund its case by spending tens of thousands of pounds of its already heavily stretched finances to fund a legal team. The Council seems more interested in protecting a questionable legal position than protecting the River Dore and the Wye catchment.  

The Council's failure in this case is a local example of the systemic challenges to human and planetary health which are being debated at the UN in New York at this very moment. Governments and institutions must use their powers to address this emergency. The need is urgent. This is why we are taking this legal action.

So please help us take the case forward by spreading the word and, if you can, by contributing to a second round of funding. Every pound counts in this effort. We and those who love and need our rivers will be immensely grateful. THANK YOU.

Update 6

Residents of the Golden Valley

Sept. 4, 2020

The 3 Wye's Women Support this Cause Legal Action

Three women from Herefordshire are walking and canoeing the river Wye to help raise awareness of the beauty and fragility of this wildlife corridor.

2020 is a record year for the river Wye with the 100-year floods in February and the largest ever algal blooms in the spring and summer. These green sticky algal blooms emerged over 70 miles of the river, blocking of the light to keystone aquatic vegetation, inhibiting the recovery of these key species that struggled to recover from the record floods.

As each extensive algal bloom receded it deposited a thick brown slime over rocks, gravels, marginal and deeper aquatic plants choking these organisms and the micro fauna that depend on them. The knock-on effect was a sharp reduction in river fly life, a key source food for protected species including the salmon par, elvers, shad and lampreys. It's not just the fish that have suffered, swans and cygnets are dying of starvation through lack of river vegetation and iconic species like king fishers and dippers have far less fry and invertebrate life to feed on. This is an environmental disaster flowing under our noses and few are aware of the severity of the situation.

The unprecedented growth of intensive chicken farms, pig farms and cattle sheds resulted in increased levels of pollution in the Lugg and now the Wye. The planning of these intensive industrial units in or adjacent to such sensitive (SSSI, SAC) environments is regulated by law but the laws are not strictly adhered allegedly.

All three women live locally. Morgan Schofield is an environmental scientist from Hereford and is passionate about protecting the river. She got together with Patricia Ronan, a keen river angler and swimmer to organise the trip. They were joined by Cllr Jennie Hewitt, who represents Golden Valley North constituency and represents her constituents' interests.

These three Wye’s Women felt they must act fast to raise awareness of these threats to the unique biodiversity and beauty of our iconic river. 

Please continue to help us and the Three Wye'sWomen by continuing to share this link and donate if you can. 


Update 5

Residents of the Golden Valley

Sept. 2, 2020

Half Way There!

What a superb effort. Almost at the 11th hour, with your generous and passionate help, the initial target of  £25k has been surpassed. This is an amazing testimony to the depth of public concern about the condition of our rivers and the commitment of people all over the UK - and from as far away as Australia and India - to speak up for them.

This means that the legal action can proceed now. Watch this page for updates or find some of the supporters on Twitter @GValleyAG2 or @wyeruinIt. These accounts are following three great local women who are walking the length of the Wye to highlight its parlous state and to draw attention to this case. #3wyeswomen.

Many, many grateful thanks to all you wonderful people. The campaign carries on. We knew from the outset that we would need to achieve our stretch target of £50K to take this case all the way to a judicial review, so please, please continue to share and donate. 


Update 4

Residents of the Golden Valley

Sept. 1, 2020

Herefordshire Council Continues to Play Hardball

Dear Friends and Supporters

We  have almost reached the initial target of £25000 to enable us to to take Herefordshire Council to court for failing to use its powers to protect local river systems from agricultural pollution. Sadly, the Council has doubled down on its hostile response. Despite plenty of evidence that the Wye and its tributaries are  extremely  stressed, they see no reason to undertake environmental assessments of developments along the banks of these rivers and are prepared to defend their position in court, using local tax payers money to do so. This is an extraordinary act by a Council, which declared a Climate & Ecological Emergency in 2019. 

Rivers in the north of the County are already so polluted that development has been put on hold. Does this mean that the south of the Country is fair game for developers? What is Herefordshire County Council going to do to protect the rivers in the south of the County from further degradation caused by pollution from poorly regulated development? 

So, we have no choice but to go all the way in our to challenge the Council. If necessary, we will need your help to reach our stretch target of £50,000. The Council seems to have deep pockets. So do the developer. Ours are not deep but they are wide. 

Thank you so much for your help.

Update 3

Residents of the Golden Valley

Aug. 23, 2020

''No Assessment Required in Hydrological Area of River Wye''

The latest correspondence from Herefordshire County Council to our lawyers, sent late on Friday, failed to provide clear, unambiguous answers to our reasonable questions. Our lawyers describe their “grave concern” at the HCC position.

The reasons for our campaign’s deep anxiety about HCC’s position and the challenges we are facing, is summarised in one extraordinary  response from HCC. 

“We do not agree that an appropriate assessment is required in any development to be carried out within the hydrological area of the River Wye”.

This deeply worrying statement confirms the urgency of this funding appeal .

PLEASE help ensure that we have funds to take this case to a judicial review. 

THANK YOU so much to all of you who have contributed generously so far. We appreciate everything you are doing to promote our campaign, Please continue to share and donate if possible. 

The deadline to achieve our target is 6th September. Every contribution helps brings us closer to our target but also provides enormous moral support.



Update 2

Residents of the Golden Valley

Aug. 17, 2020

No Movement from Herefordshire Council

Many thanks to all of you who have pledged to our crowdfunding appeal. We are almost half-way there with your help.  A fantastic result. 

Unfortunately, Herefordshire Council is standing by its incomprehensible decision to grant planning permission in this case. This decision failed to take into account the inescapable fact that water conditions are already severely stressed in the rivers Wye, Monnow and Dore. The farm site in question is located literally above where the Dore rises. The Dore is a tributary of the Monnow which is in the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC) catchment. New data confirms that the rivers in the SAC are already severely ecologically stressed, in large part because of pollution from intensive poultry and livestock farming.

The huge scale of the threat to our rivers because of planning failures was brilliantly reported by George Monbiot just a few days ago. See here.

Then Griff Rhys Jones published an equally powerful piece about the rapid death of our rivers here

We call on Herefordshire Council to take account of its own environmental policies as set out in its Core Strategy, having declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency and admit that this decision was wrong. 

Update 1

Residents of the Golden Valley

Aug. 12, 2020

Herefordshire Council has a Duty to Protect our Rivers: Our appeal

Many thanks for your generous donation to our appeal. We have now raised over 30% of our target due to your generosity and our campaign is ramping up the effort to reach our target of £25,000.

We have heard that Herefordshire Council plans to stand by its incomprehensible decision to grant planning permission for the erection of an additional  large agricultural shed at a local farm, despite repeated attempts to develop intensive livestock farming at this site and strong community opposition.

But we are not giving up. The state of the rivers on the Welsh border is lamentable, as today's article from George Monbiot describes so vividly. This is what we are up against.

 You can help us by continuing to share the link to our appeal as widely as possible. https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/herefordshire-river-pollution/

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