The meeting coincided with an announcement by Natural England: the conservation status of the River Wye Special Area for Conservation, has been downgraded from Unfavourable Recovering to Unfavourable Declining. This is disappointing news and will concern many of our members who live, work or manage the land in the river catchment.
Whilst we know that many members have undertaken steps to reduce phosphate inputs in the catchment, the latest announcement highlights the need for all sectors to continue working together to bring the river back into favourable conservation status.
The phosphate issue on the River Wye is a complex problem. Due to the amount of legacy phosphate which has entered the groundwater and soil water over the last decades, and which is now discharging into the Wye, we recognise that many of the solutions available to us or currently being implemented will not provide a quick fix.
What was clear at the meeting was that all stakeholders share a passion for the river and are keen to work together to make progress in restoring water quality.