Protest about pollution

The Wiltshire Times reports: Extinction Rebellion activists from Bradford on Avon and Bath have hung banners from bridges along the River Avon to protest about pollution.

They joined protests throughout the South West on December 12 to highlight the Government’s failure to protect England’s waterways from pollution.

The groups hung banners on the Pulteney Bridge in Bath and on the bridges at Bradford on Avon, the Dundas Aqueduct and at Limpley Stoke.

Bradford on Avon resident Nicky Reynolds, from Extinction Rebellion, said “The Avon is polluted with sewage and hazardous chemicals. It's not safe for wildlife and it's not safe for us.

“There are fishermen, kayakers and walkers all along here and it has become hugely popular with wild swimmers but many don’t realise that raw sewage is frequently discharged straight into it.

“Climate change will only make matters worse. We will get more extreme weather and more sewage in our rivers.”

The activists say the River Avon is not alone. They claim there isn’t one river in England, where there are 4,670 bodies of water, which has designated bathing water status. France has 573, Italy 73 and Germany 38.

Wessex Water, which is one of the better-performing companies, released raw sewage on 13,876 occasions over 107,404 hours in 2019. Upstream from Warleigh Weir, one of the most beautiful swimming spots in the UK, sewage was released for a total of 335 hours in 2019.