The Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA) and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) have welcomed the Environment Agency’s (EA) decision to limit the levels of phosphate pollution in the River Itchen from watercress farms. Excess phosphate in the river acts as a fertilizer that encourages unnaturally vigorous growth of both suspended algae, which discolours the water, and denser algae that smothers the riverbed and strangles aquatic weeds – completely altering the unique ecosystems within the river, which is designated a Special Area of Conservation.
“We are delighted that phosphates are at last being controlled in the river, said Paul Knight, S&TA’s CEO. “A great deal still needs to be done to bring the Itchen back to its former glory days, but this is an encouraging start.”
“We are hugely encouraged that the EA has at last taken a grip of the phosphate issue,” added Debbie Tann, HIWWT’s CEO.