Wales

Anger as River Teifi pollution plant avoids prosecution

Dead fish can be seen in the river Image copyright Steffan Jones
Image caption Salmon and trout were among thousands of fish killed

Anglers are "appalled and dismayed" at the decision not to prosecute a company that polluted a river, killing about 18,000 fish.

About 44,000 gallons of slurry leaked into a five-mile stretch of the River Teifi, near Tregaron, Ceredigion.

Pencefn Feeds Ltd has paid £40,000 following an investigation by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) into the incident in December 2016.

However, angling associations said not prosecuting sent the wrong message.

When slurry leaked from an anaerobic digestion plant, it caused what was described as an "environmental disaster".

Amongst the thousands of fish killed were salmon and brown trout.

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Media captionEnvironmentalists have been searching the river for signs of living fish

Pencefn Feeds was told to pay £15,000 to the West Wales Rivers Trust to restore the habitat and £5,000 to the Countryside Alliance Foundation to fund education activities. They also have to pay £20,000 costs.

NRW said the payments made as an enforcement undertaking were "consistent with a potential fine".

However, NRW could not prosecute sub-contractor Hallmark Power Ltd, responsible for the broken pipe, or plant constructor ComBigaS UK, as neither company still exists.

Pencefn Feeds said previous concerns raised with those companies had not been acted upon.

Image caption NRW said it will take "some time" for the population of brown trout to recover

Donald Patterson, chairman of Tregaron Angling Association, said: "This is a sad outcome, not just for fishing but for those who have a genuine respect and passion for the environment."

The Llandysul Angling Association said the enforcement undertaking was a "derisory sum".

Landowner Colin Chapman added: "We're sending out a message that Wales is a nation where it's cheaper for businesses to pollute than to act responsibly and that environmental crimes carry little risk of prosecution or substantial fines."

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