Chemical spill will have “long-term impact” on River Nene wildlife

A picture of "water scum" on the river Nene taken by a reader
A picture of "water scum" on the river Nene taken by a reader
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Wednesday 4.30pm: A chemical spill in the River Nene is likely to have a “long-term impact” on wildlife there, environment officials have revealed.

The 5,000 litre chemical spill in Orton Southgate took place over the weekend and resulted in the death of 4,000 fish.

Officials at the Environment Agency (EA) said today (Wednesday) that water quality in the centre of Peterborough is almost back to normal with no new fish deaths reported.

But the EA has also revealed that the slug of dead fish has passed from Peterborough through to Wisbech.

Norman Robinson, a spokesman for the EA, said: “We are no longer seeing fish struggling in the water and believe the worst to have passed but we are staying alert and continuing to monitor throughout the week and weekend.”

The incident prompted the EA to issue a warning for people to avoid going near the river.

Now the Agency is waiting for results of water tests to confirm the danger has passed before giving the all clear to water users.

Mr Robinson added: “We have been unable to save some fish and our biological surveys have shown there is likely to be a long-term impact on the flora and fauna of the river.

“The exact effect is not yet know.”

The agency has also been in talks with organisations around the Wash to ensure the very small risk to waters beyond Wisbech is understood and managed.

As a result of the spill fishing in The Wash has been suspended.

The Food Standards Agency has imposed a control orders on fish and shellfish caught in The Wash and River Nene, which runs through Sutton Bridge.

Any further reports of fish struggling should contact the Environment Agency emergency hotline on 0800 80 70 60