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Oil spill confirmed in River Dene, Wellesbourne

THE pollution on the River Dene in Wellesbourne has been confirmed as “oil contamination” by the Environment Agency.

A statement issued by the agency, yesterday, Wednesday, reads:

“We are aware of oil contamination in the River Dene near Wellesbourne.

“Our officers have attended the site and continue to investigate the source of the pollution. We have deployed a containment boom to prevent further downstream contamination.

“The Environment Agency has partnered with Wellesbourne and Walton Parish Council and together we continue to engage with local residents to identify the source.”

The Herald reported on the spillage in last week’s edition after concerned Wellesbourne residents contacted the newspaper about the three-week old pollution spillage.

One resident - Peter Vale-Humphreys – has described the leak as an “environmental disaster” and as a member of the Wellesbourne Walkers group he regularly walks the White Bridge area where the spill is at its worst. He says he’s “horrified” by the stench of petrol he and fellow villagers are confronted with every time they cross over the river.

But now there’s equal concern over the threat the spillage poses to wildlife.

Throughout this year a Kingfisher has been spotted darting around the White Bridge area but not anymore. Peter Vale-Humphreys said he hasn’t seen the bird for weeks and now believes the spill is an “environmental disaster affecting birds, butterflies and fish”.

“The River Dene links up with the River Avon near Charlecote and if this spillage travels to Stratford it’s going hit the swan pollution who will get oil in their feathers. I’m not an environmentalist but anyone walking around here will tell you the smell is awful, it stinks – it’s like that you get in a garage. It needs a fuller investigation with people in waders they need to get right down in that area and take samples of the scum in that area,” Peter Vale-Humphreys said.

He added that one possible cause of the pollution leak could be a ruptured household’s heating fuel tank that’s seeping through the soil and into the river. A joint Environment Agency and Wellesbourne and Walton Parish Council notice Parish posted at the site urges residents with heating oil tanks at their properties to check for damages or leaks.

Peter told the Herald after his daily walk by the River Dene yesterday the petrol smell was everywhere and for a good hour he felt like he had a cold.

The Environment Agency said if people have environmental concerns about the spill they should call its hotline on 0800 807060.

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