Concern raised over ‘poor’ water quality of the River Lune

RIVER: The Lune, pictured at Lancaster
RIVER: The Lune, pictured at Lancaster
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Much needs to be done to improve the water quality of the River Lune after it was described as “poor” by the Environment Agency.

The lower Lune between Lancaster and Morecambe Bay in particular has a poor rating, following tests on the river’s water quality carried out over the summer of 2014.

According to our own research Overton Dyke is poor, the river Conder is moderate, the river Cocker is poor, and the lower Lune, south of junction 34, is poor.

Sarah Littlefield - Lune Rivers Trust

In the later part of 2014, United Utilities carried out extensive work to the city’s sewer system, which the water company said would help to make a big improvement to the quality of the Lune.

Prior to this, any extra pressure on the city’s Victorian sewer system would cause raw sewage to run into the river.

Morecambe Bay itself was given a moderate classification, as was the river Wyre, however the rivers Kent and Leven were classed as “bad”.

Sarah Littlefield, from the Lune Rivers Trust, a charity dedicated to the conservation, protection, rehabilitation and improvement of the River Lune, said: “According to our own research Overton Dyke is poor, the river Conder is moderate, the river Cocker is poor, and the lower Lune, south of junction 34, is poor.

“North of the motorway the river becomes moderate to good. There are a number of reasons for this, including pressures and pollution from agriculture, including overgrazing and stock in the river, septic tank usage, and once in Lancaster there is urban pressure like oil and chemical run off from roads.

“All of this will have an effect on the water quality in the Lune and in Morecambe Bay.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “After considerable investment, rivers in England are the healthiest for 20 years.

“EU legislation means the assessment criteria has just got even tougher and, in the same way that your car can fail its MOT for just one fault, a river won’t be classed as ‘good’ unless it achieves the highest rating for a wide range of factors, including water chemistry, flow levels and aquatic life.

“74 per cent of the tests achieve the highest two scores of good or high status.

“The Environment Agency will continue to work closely with farmers, businesses and water companies to reduce pollution and improve water quality.”