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Natural England and Environment Agency launch joint legal action in response to River Lugg damage.

Hereford Voice

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Banks of the River Lugg were damaged in December 2020 causing suspected significant and long-term ecological harm.

  • Natural England and the Environment Agency are today launching legal action against the landowner
  • The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which means permissions need to be granted before work can take place

Natural England and the Environment Agency have announced today they are beginning legal action against a landowner for damage to a protected area of the River Lugg in Herefordshire.

This follows a joint Natural England and Environment Agency in-depth investigation into ecological harm to the 1.5 kilometre of the protected stretch of the River Lugg. This investigation followed reports of unauthorised activity including dredging and changing the shape (profiling) of the riverbank in Kingsland in Herefordshire in December 2020.

This has been a serious and complex investigation which has taken a considerable length of time to complete.

The charges being brought against the landowner relate to:

  • Unconsented operations and causing damage to a Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Carrying out activities within 8 metres of the River Lugg which were likely to cause damage to or endanger the stability of the river
  • causing a water discharge activity, namely a discharge of silt into the River Lugg
  • Failing to take reasonable precaution to prevent agricultural pollution from land management and cultivation practices on agricultural land
  • Wilfully disturbing spawn or spawning fish, or any bed, bank or shallow on which any spawn or spawning fish may be
  • Breach of a stop notice

The charges also relate to further works which are alleged to have been carried out by the landowner in December 2021.

Court action will now follow at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court.

Oliver Harmar, Chief Operating Officer at Natural England said:

"The decimation of this section of the River Lugg has been devastating to the local environment and to local people, destroying the habitats of iconic wildlife such as otters, kingfisher and salmon. It was heart-breaking to see this beautiful riverside illegally damaged"


The River Lugg in Herefordshire, pre December 2020

The River Lugg, post 2020

The River Lugg, post 2020

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  • 1 year later...

John Price appeared today at Kidderminster Magistrates Court where he was sentenced to 12 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £600,000 and disqualified from being a director of a limited company for three years. In addition, a Restoration Order under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 was imposed requiring Mr Price to carry out a number of actions to restore the river. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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