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Found 5 results

  1. 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" https://www.gov.uk/government/news/multiple-agencies-investigate-damage-to-the-river-lugg The River Lugg in Herefordshire, pre December 2020 The River Lugg, post 2020 The River Lugg, post 2020
  2. The Government have today issued the following press release: Extensive damage reported on Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) area of River Lugg in Herefordshire. Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission mount joint investigation into damage reported on SSSI area of the River Lugg in Herefordshire. Legal notices were served and officers have attended the site to gather evidence. Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission mount joint investigation. Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission have joined forces to investigate a series of unconsented works on the river Lugg at Kingsland in Herefordshire. The area has SSSI status due to its environmental importance. With the support of West Mercia police, officers from Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission came together on the scene last week with officers from Herefordshire Council, to investigate and seek formal evidence for the alleged offences. A legal notice requiring the works to stop immediately was served on the landowner by Natural England last week, while the Forestry Commission issued a stop letter requiring an end to any further felling work. The Environment Agency also requested no further works to be carried out on the river last week. Emma Johnson, Natural England area manager, said: The three agencies came together to jointly investigate last week following reports of activities including dredging, illegal felling of trees and profiling of the river banks. The works have the potential to cause significant, long term ecological harm to nearly 1.5km of the river. Keith Jones, area director for the Forestry Commission said: Dave Throup, area environment manager for the Environment Agency, added: Further information: Natural England is responsible for ensuring the protection of SSSI areas, the Forestry Commission is responsible for issuing and regulating tree felling permits and the Environment Agency is responsible for flood risk management, fish and spawning and the way rivers function. Natural England has regulatory powers to prevent damage taking place to SSSIs and to take appropriate enforcement action, including prosecuting offenders where damage occurs. Felling trees without the authority of a felling licence issued by the Forestry Commission, where one is required, currently carries a penalty upon conviction in a magistrates’ court of £2,500 or twice the value of the timber felled. In certain circumstances, the Forestry Commission is empowered to serve a Restocking Notice upon anyone committing an illegal felling offence, either with or without having secured a conviction, which compels the individual served to restock the land with trees. Failure to comply with the notice may result in a separate offence being committed, which already carries a penalty of an unlimited fine. Source
  3. International singer Feargal Sharkey most widely known as the lead vocalist of punk band The Undertones in the 1970s and 1980s, and for solo works in the 1980s and 1990s has condemned the recent work carried out along the banks of the River Lugg in Herefordshire and has urged the Environment Agency and others to prosecute the perpetrator in a Tweet. In another Tweet, Sharkey challenges the Environment Agency (Midlands) asking them why didn't they act after the were alerted to the work that was taking place at the River Lugg. Environmental campaigning Sharkey is a lifelong fly fisherman and has campaigned against the pollution of British rivers. We reported on this story and in a follow up article earlier this week and now many questions are being asked even though there are some local people who are pleased with the work that has been done. What are your thoughts?
  4. Statement: The landowner has given an interview in The Telegraph today 5th December. You can read it here
  5. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust have highlighted this destruction to a section of the River Lugg, in Herefordshire. One of the most beautiful and important rivers in the UK, has been intentionally destroyed over a stretch of approximately 1.5km with huge repercussions for wildlife downstream. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust has discovered that the river and its banks have been bulldozed, straightened and reprofiled into a sterile canal, with all bankside and riverside habitats completely obliterated. The Lugg flows from its source in Powys through Herefordshire before meeting the River Wye just outside Hereford. Its riverbanks, gravels and beds of water crowfoot are home to crayfish, otters and salmon, lampreys and dragonflies and a host of rare river wildlife. The river is so important for willdife that it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in its lower reaches. This should give it multiple layers of protection, with statutory agencies such as Natural England, the Environment Agency, Forestry Commission and Herefordshire Council all given a statutory duty to protect the river from harm.
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