A swan sadly died after oil was dumped into a body of water in Peterborough.
The 19-year-old male failed to recover despite the best efforts of the RSPCA after being covered by oil in Werrington Brook, near Fulbridge Road.
A second swan, a female, was also found with oil on it but has survived and been returned to the area.
Andy Sadler, catchment coordinator, Welland and Nene, at the Environment Agency, said: “Environment Agency officers were notified of an oil pollution on Werrington Brook last month and immediately attended the scene to deploy a boom and start the clean-up process by using absorbent pads to soak up the spillage.
“Unfortunately, as the incident happened several days before the Environment Agency received the report, we were unable to trace the source of the pollution to establish who was responsible and to bring them to justice.
“It is really important that anyone who witnesses any pollution of land or water immediately reports the incident to us via the Environment Agency 24-hour hotline on 0800 807060 to minimise the effects of the pollution on the environment and enable us to carry out a full investigation.
“Pollution incidents can seriously damage or kill wildlife and, due to oil being dumped in the brook, two swans, which were much-loved by local people, were sadly covered in oil. Whilst the swans were rescued by the RSPCA, one has sadly since died.”
Werrington Brook is currently the subject of a minimum five year improvement programme which aims to reduce pollution across five stretches of the brooks in the Dukesmead, Hastings Road, Arundel Road, Ullswater Avenue and Aubretia Avenue areas.
The works involve putting new features into the brooks to improve the way they naturally function, restoring them to how nature intended. From changing the way the brook flows, to increasing the amount of oxygen in the water, the features will help to clean the water, create new habitats and provide a more pleasant space for all to enjoy.
The programme begin in 2014 and involved the Environment Agency, Peterborough City Council, Anglian Water, RiverCare and PECT. The next phase of the project is due to start in January 2018 and finish in March.
PECT, the environmental charity, said: “Project partners for the Werrington Brook Improvements project in Peterborough were dismayed to learn of a recent pollution incident which had devastating effects on the local wildlife, most notably a pair of well-known breeding swans.”
PECT’s chief executive, Carly Leonard, added: “Healthy rivers provide excellent environments to help local people, organisations and wildlife in numerous ways.
“In addition to the physical works as part of the Werrington Brook Improvements project, we want to explore how the local community can work together to reduce pollution and report incidents as soon as they are spotted to maintain a cleaner, healthier river environment. We urgently need terrible incidents like this one to become a thing of the past.”