Fears effluent is polluting Fletching stream

The Environment Agency (EA) has sought to reassure Fletching families who are concerned about effluent running into a river from a local farm.

Several contacted the Express to say slurry has been pouring down a culvert into a stream. They fear it will reach the lakes in Sheffield Park and ultimately, the River Ouse.

However a spokesperson for the EA said it was satisfied this was a case of ‘minor pollution’ which presented no risk of spreading to nearby water courses.

At Fletching Parish Council’s annual meeting, a questioner asked about posters which had been put up in local lanes alleging that there was ‘toxic waste’ at the farm. They said: “Signs reporting toxic waste at Woolpack Farm are a real cause for local concern. What is being done about this?”

A spokesman said there were planning enforcement issues as well as environmental concerns at the site. But they added: “The Parish Council has no powers to respond to either. We have alerted Wealden District Council who have enforcement powers and they have been in contact with the EA. The EA should respond to this urgently. Other authorities that could be affected by contamination such as the Water Authorities, Forestry Commission and National Trust should also be contacted.”

Videos of pollution and water quality readings, which appear to be in excess of EU and EA safe limits, have been sent to the EA. Pollution warning notices were also posted along lanes, but these have been removed.

Wealden’s planning officers visited the farm after complaints regarding ‘unauthorised equestrian usage.’ They say officers are investigating concerns regarding these planning issues. They have been in touch with the EA about possible contamination of local water courses by effluent from livestock.

The EA said: “We have liaised with Woolpack Farm on ways to prevent effluent entering its drainage set-up. We provided advice and guidance regarding agricultural pollution prevention techniques and to safeguard the environment. Checks are ongoing. We are satisfied this is a case of minor pollution which does not present a risk of spreading to nearby water courses.”

Several attempts were made to contact Woodlpack Farm owners but they had not replied when we went to press.

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