A WYE Valley has been accused of “posturing” over the river’s pollution problem rather than taking meaningful steps to address it.

At Prime Minister’s Questions last week, Conservative MP for North Herefordshire Sir Bill Wiggin – who lives near Ross at Upton Bishop – said the county’s Hereford city “bypass-hating” ruling coalition were failing to back “proven technology” to address pollution in the river.

But former West Midlands MEP Coun Ellie Chowns, leader of Herefordshire’s co-ruling Greens group and cabinet member for economy and environment, said the MP’s comments “demonstrate his lack of engagement and lack of understanding of this issue”.

Herefordshire Council “has no powers to stop the pollution – the minister and the regulatory agencies are the only ones who can do that”, she said.

“Instead of posturing at PMQs, Mr Wiggin would do better to put pressure on the polluters, support our call for a water protection zone, and work to reverse the devastating Conservative cuts to Environment Agency funding.”

In January 2022, county councillors voted unanimously to press the Government for a water protection zone covering the Wye catchment, which would have placed tighter restrictions on farms and other pollution sources – a bid rejected by environment minister Rebecca Pow.

Sir Bill’s question in Parliament last week appeared to back a controversial bid to process waste from the county’s chicken farms, considered a major source of river pollution, at a planned new anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at Whitwick Manor, near Ledbury.

Herefordshire Council had given itself until ladst Friday (March 31) to determine the planning application, but it has yet to publish a decision.