Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Sunday, March 28, 1999 Published at 20:06 GMT


Ammonia blamed for fish deaths

Anglers are steering clear of the Wey because of the pollution

An investigation is under way after thousands of fish were killed by river pollution.

The BBC's Paul Greer: "Thousands of dead fish were floating downstream"
A three-mile stretch of the river Wey in Hampshire has been contaminated by ammonia.

The Environment Agency, which has launched an investigation, says the fish population of the river between Alton and Bentley has been "completely devastated".

The area is popular with local anglers but they deserted the riverbank on Sunday as the potential catch floated on the surface.

[ image: Thousands of fish are dead because of the spill]
Thousands of fish are dead because of the spill
Environment Agency officials were called to the scene on Saturday after a local resident noticed foam and a strong smell.

Cleaning up

A clean-up operation was under way on Sunday and the agency's spokesman said: "The pollution has affected a three-mile stretch of the River Wey between Alton and Bentley killing thousands of brown trout, chubb, roach, dace and perch.

"It has completely devastated the local fish population."

He said: "Samples taken by the agency have yet to confirm the pollutant, but initial investigations point to ammonia as the cause."

The agency says it has traced the source and is gathering evidence with a view to taking legal action.

Possible impact on food chain

It is also carrying out a full biological impact survey.

The Wey is fed by the Caker Stream, which runs adjacent to an industrial estate and a sewage treatment works, which has been ruled out as the source of the contamination.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods has advised farmers not to abstract water from the river but South East Water says there is no risk to the public drinking water supply.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Internet Links

Environment Agency

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online