Polluters ordered to repair fishing mecca
River culprits named Region’s worst pollution Restocking bid
THE Environment Agency has named and shamed the company that caused a crippling pollution of a former match and pleasure fishing mecca last March, killing 100,000 fish.
Omex Agriculture Ltd allowed a significant quantity of ammonia to leak into the River Witham, and has now been served with a rarely used notice of liability, insisting it submits proposals for repairing the river.
Unless Omex appeals, it has until the middle of this month to submit a plan that the EA has to agree with, and that meets the needs of the environment.
But the company could still face prosecution for the incident, and potentially a large fine, depending on the outcome of the investigation, which is still ongoing.
In what was Lincolnshire’s worst-ever pollution, ammonia affected the river from Bardney right down to the Wash, having a severe impact on the river's condition, and wiping out fish and invertebrates.
Manfai Tang, environment manager at the EA, said: “We know the pollution had a devastating effect on delicate river ecosystems, and issuing this notice means the process of helping the river recover to its natural, healthy state can start sooner.
“It’s one way we’re working to protect and improve our environment for local people and wildlife. We look forward to receiving proposals from Omex, and then working with them to restore the Witham.
“After the incident, EA experts and biologists worked tirelessly with other organisations to help clean up the pollution and mitigate the damage,” he added.
Omex Agriculture Ltd is a privately owned company based in Tupholme, just east of Lincoln, that develops and markets products and services for agriculture and industry.
As reported in Angler’s Mail, fisheries teams have since re-stocked the river with more than 1.5 million fish larvae, including bream, roach and tench, and have re-introduced 40,000 roach and bream of around 3-4 cm long. The snowy scene of death on the River Witham last March.
Jake Bennett, of Short Ferry Angling, in Fiskerton, said: “Luckily, the pollution didn’t reach our two-mile drain, but I understand that the fishing for silver fish on the affected stretches has been terrible.
“Many pike seem to have survived, and plenty are being caught, possibly because there aren’t that many bait fish to feed on.”
EA fisheries teams have been restocking the Witham with fish since the pollution disaster.