What are they not telling us about the damage done to our rivers?

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA</span>
Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Re your article on the lack of enforcement of environmental protection laws in regard to British rivers (Sewage sleuths: the men who revealed the slow, dirty death of Welsh and English rivers, 4 August), I’d suggest there is more at play than mere incompetence in the Environment Agency (EA) providing the lawyer Guy Linley-Adams with an ancient computer as a means of “accessing” databases on unsanctioned sewage releases.

Save the Heart of Kendal is campaigning against the destruction of three miles of habitat along the River Kent in Kendal, to make way for the EA’s hugely damaging concrete flood defence works. Every freedom of information request the group has made to the EA has been met with refusal on the grounds that it would take officers too many hours to respond to our questions. This is not incompetence, but state-sanctioned legitimisation of a complete lack of openness and accountability in the face of difficult questions and an ensuing ecological disaster.
Karen Lloyd
Save the Heart of Kendal

• Your article on the “sewage sleuths” was excellent and illuminating. Bear in mind, though, that advice from Natural England has imposed a moratorium on new housebuilding over wide areas across England because it considers that new houses add to the burden on sewage works and thereby contribute to river pollution.

Your article shows that such action can only have a very marginal impact on the massive river pollution that is being allowed to occur. It does, however, deprive many people (who already contribute to the waste, which should be treated in sewage farms) of a new home in these 74 local authority areas, including preventing the construction of new care homes for our rapidly growing elderly population. In particular, it has the effect of moving the cost of pollution prevention away from the water companies and agribusinesses to ordinary people.
Paul Sedgwick
Chartered town planner

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