Sixty thousand fish killed as pollution hits a five mile stretch of the Grand Union Canal
Leicester Mercury | January 28, 2015
Up to 60,000 fish have died in a massive pollution incident on a five mile stretch of the Grand Union Canal. They were poisoned by a suspected leak of farm slurry from waterside land somewhere between Kilby Bridge and Kibworth.
But action by the Canal and River Trust and the Environment Agency and Natural England has saved more than 100,000 fish. They were alerted nearly four weeks ago after large numbers of dead fish were seen floating in the water.
They closed the polluted section of the canal and started pumping air into the water.
They removed surviving fish northwards along the canal towards Bumblebee Lock, near Kilby Bridge. A spokeswoman for the Canal and River Trust said: “In total we think about 50 to 60,000 fish died.
“ Thankfully we did manage to save more fish that we think have died. The numbers for this are in the region of about 100,000 fish.” The trust’s acting waterway manager Neil Owen said: “It is going to take time for the fish stocks to recover but hopefully over time the fish relocated further along the canal will make their way back to this stretch of canal.”
Environment Agency incident commander John Dronfield said: “While the incident resulted in thousands of fish deaths, the outcome could have been far worse.
“I’m pleased to announce that the vast majority of fish were saved and the Site of Special Scientific Interest on the Kilby-Foxton Canal was protected.”
The canal was closed to boats for three weeks and three days as the water was aerated to remedy some of the damage caused. Thousands of fish were plucked from the polluted stretch and moved to safer areas.
Fresh water was then pumped into the affected area from the river Sence and from further upstream in order to dilute the pollution until the water quality was back to normal. He said an Environment Agency investigation team was seeking to identify and take action against any individual or business that contributed to the pollution.