Richmond river pollution probed after hundreds of fish die

Ron Wood holding a dead fish

Ron Wood said the waterway looked “like an oil slick”

Suspected pollution in a 20-mile stretch of waterway has killed hundreds of fish, anglers said.

Ron Wood said the water at Gilling Beck, near Richmond in North Yorkshire, turned black last Thursday.

He said there was a “scene of devastation” and residents had found hundreds of dead fish in the water.

The Environment Agency said the pollution had spread to other nearby waterways and the organisation had launched an investigation.

“The stream was black from bank to bank and as far as the eye could see,” Mr Wood said, adding that it looked “like an oil slick”.

“The rivers and the streams are the lifeblood of the countryside, so it’s not just the fish, it’s the whole ecosystem. This is an absolute catastrophe.”

Angler Kevin Woodcock said volunteers had spent time and money improving the river and the surrounding environment over the past few years.

He said he believed the recent apparent pollution had set progress back years.

Environment Agency officers went to the waterway to assess the pollution.

“Ecologists have taken samples to evaluate the impact to wildlife and we are awaiting lab results to understand the full extent and impact of the incident,” a spokesperson for the organisation said.

“The discharge has now been stopped and the water is running clear.”

The cause of the pollution is not yet known.

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