Major damage to River Lugg in Herefordshire will be test case for Government commitment to strengthen wildlife protection.
The River Lugg, in Herefordshire, one of the most beautiful and important rivers in the UK, has been intentionally destroyed over a stretch of approximately 1.5km with huge repercussions for wildlife downstream. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust has discovered that the river and its banks have been bulldozed, straightened and reprofiled into a sterile canal, with all bankside and riverside habitats completely obliterated.
The Lugg flows from its source in Powys through Herefordshire before meeting the River Wye just outside Hereford. Its riverbanks, gravels and beds of water crowfoot are home to crayfish, otters and salmon, lampreys and dragonflies and a host of rare river wildlife. The river is so important for willdife that it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in its lower reaches. This should give it multiple layers of protection, with statutory agencies such as Natural England, the Environment Agency, Forestry Commission and Herefordshire Council all given a statutory duty to protect the river from harm.