An Environment Agency survey has shown that the number and variety of fish in the River Slea has returned to normal, five years after a pollution incident decimated populations.

In 2003, hundreds of litres of pesticides were washed into the River Slea and although the Environment Agency was quick to try to contain the incident, around 100,000 fish were killed and all other aquatic life was wiped out.  This year’s fish survey shows that the river is well on the way to recovery with a range of fish being caught including elvers, brown trout, pike and perch.

The Environment Agency has restocked the river with nearly 40,000 fish since 2003, partly paid for by the prosecution of the people responsible for the pollution incident.  The size of some of the fish caught shows that adult fish are also entering the Slea from the River Witham.

Chris Reeds of the Environment Agency said: ‘This is excellent news. Good numbers of fish indicate a really healthy river environment, in stark contrast to the aftermath of the pollution in 2003. Hopefully we’ll see anglers returning to the river in the near future.’