Wessex Rivers Trust was made aware of a fuel oil leak on the lower River Test – a Site of Special Scientific Interest - and its estuary last week and has been following updates from the key organisations involved over the last few days. Both as a charity dedicated to the protection and enhancement of rivers, and in our lead role in the Test and Itchen Catchment Partnership, we were extremely concerned to hear about the incident and the lapses that led to the release of around 20,000 litres diesel into the environment. It is especially concerning that the situation appears to have built-up over a period of time without effective intervention, and that poor historic planning and design decisions did not protect this renowned river system from a completely avoidable form of pollution.
We will be writing to the MP and asking that effective enforcement is put in place, whereby appropriate action is undertaken to halt any further pollution, and the polluter pays for remediation and, if necessary, compensation within this precious and sensitive ecosystem. We have also tabled an agenda item to allow a thorough discussion on the incident at the next Catchment Partnership meeting, at which both Southern Water and the Environment Agency are represented, in order to help prevent similar occurrences from happening in future.