Following the death of hundreds of fish in the River Colne over the last few days the Environment Agency is asking for the public’s help in tracking down the source of the problem.
Reports of some smaller fish dying started to come in last Friday, 8 February and our staff investigated that day but could find no apparent cause for the fish deaths.
More reports came in on Saturday and initial investigations showed that the problem could have been a discharge into the river from a blocked sewer.
However, the deaths started to appear upstream of that discharge, and by Monday it was estimated that several hundred stone loach had died along with dozens of trout and some grayling in the four mile stretch of the River Colne between Slaithwaite and the Aspley canal basin near the city centre.
Environment officer Dave Preston has been following the case: “At first it was only the smaller fish that were hit but as time has passed the larger fish are now also becoming sick and dying. This suggests it’s a slow-acting pollutant that has somehow got into the water, and if anyone has any evidence or information we’d welcome more information.
“The latest estimate is that several hundred fish are dead, and we’re still counting. Logic suggests that the pollution must have entered the river somewhere near Slaithwaite as the fish deaths start there, but we have been unable to trace the source.
“It may have stopped now, but we’d welcome any leads that anyone may have – they can call the Environment Agency Hotline on 0800 807060 or email
The Environment Agency is treating the incident as a Category One incident, the most serious level for this kind of river pollution.