Two rivers decimated in one week


Two separate spillage incidents over the course of the same week have blighted in excess of an estimated 8,000 fish between them.

The first, a pesticide spill that wiped out 4,000 fish in the River Colne was the result of a toppled trailer carrying 5,000 l. of pesticide chemicals. Dead fish include roach, eels, pike and perch, among others.

Rescue efforts have seen the relocation of around 6,000 fish from the area, with the Environment Agency requesting further information about any sighted dead or dying fish.

Some 9km of river have been affected, but with water movement it is expected that longer regions will also be hit. Fears are that the pesticide will eventually impact on stocks in Colchester, although with dilution it may become less hazardous.

The Environment Agency is deliberately pumping water into the affected area to dilute down levels of toxin, but despite this, fish are still dying several days on.

Although not considered as hazardous to humans, it is currently advised that people — and their pets — stay out of the water. Anyone with concerns who feels they may have been affected by the spill should call NHS Direct on 0845 4647

The second incident, from the weekend of June 16-17 was caused by deliberate vandal action, when miscreants broke into the premises of Safapac in Peterborough and poured 5,000 l. of hazardous chemicals into storm drains feeding into the River Nene (pictured above).

One of the chemicals released was a known insecticide.

The effects of this latter spill are expected to be long-drawn out, and as precautionary moves some shellfish fisheries in Kings Lynn have currently postponed bringing in catches.

Ecological impacts are also expected, with a spokesperson for the Environmental agency saying: "Our biological surveys have shown there is likely to be a long-term impact on the flora and fauna of the river."

Downriver, 50 tonnes of shellfish were impounded at Kings Lynn, only three days after the opening of the shellfish season.

Safapac are operating alongside the relevant authorities to mitigate the consequences of these chemicals’ release.

Species affected include roach, tench and eels.

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