Petition is successful with 7,564 signatures
To: THE ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY (EA)
RIVER ITCHEN - URGENT POLLUTION APPEAL
To stop their renewal licence allowing Bakkavor (industrial salad washing plant) dumping their factory's daily TRADE EFFLUENT containing a cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals into the head waters of the river Itchen.
Why is this important?
Bakkavor Alresford Salads have applied to the Environment Agency for a renewal licence to continue to put into the river their daily factory wash down described as TRADE EFFLUENT containing a cocktail of powerful chemicals to replace and supposedly improve on the chlorine based biocide they have been using for years.
Their impenetrable application can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/so24-9dz-bakkavor-foods-limited-environmental-permit-application-advertisement
This application is important to the river and the environment and raises many questions, some of which are listed below;
Is the quality of the river Itchen important? YES. It is protected by being in a Site Special Scientific Interest and has the highest European rating as a Special Area of Conservation.
Has the Environment Agency, charged with protection of this pristine and iconic river, been successful over the last twenty years? NO. Alresford Pond is now full of man made chemicals and the Upper Itchen fails water quality objectives under the Water Framework Directive and falls short of conservation objectives under the EU Habitats Directive.
How does the Upper Itchen compare with other rivers? VERY BADLY. Directly comparable sampling has shown that the Upper Itchen carries about 5% of the shrimp population in the upper river Meon which has no washing plant. This is indicative of what is happening to all fly and bug life in the Itchen.
Is the water quality in the Itchen improving? There is NO EVIDENCE that it is and much evidence of a thirty year uninterrupted decline.
Does polluting the river matter? YES. It matters to all aquatic life from sticklebacks to trout and much bird life from king fishers to swifts.
Does chlorine discharged from the factory dissipate? YES after years if discontinued.
If this licence renewal is refused is there an alternative? YES. The factory should connect to the sewer for all contaminated water.
Has the Environment Agency required any other company to do this? YES. The salad washing plant at St Mary Bourne was obliged to make this connection years ago despite the Bourne not having the environmental protection of the Itchen..
Can the company afford the cost of making the connection? YES. The owners Bakkovor, a multinational company, has an income of £1.7billion a year.
If the contaminated factory discharge went to the sewer would it resolve the river’s pollution problem? Probably not but it would be a first step.
IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THIS LICENCE SHOULD NOT BE ISSUED BY THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY YOU SHOULD WRITE TO: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY, Permitting and Support Centre, WQ Team, Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, SHEFFIELD , S9 4WF
Although not directly relevant to this licence you might also ask yourself whether you think that the pesticides, insecticides, fertilizer, soil or whatever, should not be washed off these salad vegetables in the various countries of their origin rather than trucked or flown and trucked to Alresford to be washed into the pure spring water of the River Itchen.