The BBC is reporting that the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Forestry Commission have confirmed that work on the River Lugg was done WITHOUT consent and that the area has Site of Special Scientific Interest status due to its environmental importance.
The BBC goes on to say that with the support of West Mercia Police, officers from the agencies and Herefordshire Council have been on site to investigate and seek formal evidence for the alleged offences. A legal notice requiring the works to stop immediately was served on the landowner by Natural England earlier this week, while the Forestry Commission issued a stop letter requiring an end to any further felling work and the Environment Agency requested no further works to be carried out on the river last week.
This goes against claims made by the farmer that he was following the rules.
Farmer John Price told The Telegraph:
He said: “I’m a Herefordshire farmer and have lived at Day Farm and was born here at home. I have never moved and have watched this river all my life and no one knows this river better than myself. I have always looked after the river. I was asked to stop the erosion because I’m the land owner so I’m responsible for the river.
“It was up to the Environmental Agency to look after these rivers but they don’t do any work and haven’t got any money to do the work because they spend it all on clipboards.”
He added: “I have not pushed any trees out and I haven’t knocked any trees down I have only cleared what ones came down in the flood.
Mr Price went on: “The flooding has been getting substantially worse over the last 10 years and will continue to get worse if a certain amount of work is not done like I have been allowed to do by the Environment Agency.
“I have got the support of the village and parish council and they had a meeting especially about the work being done. They all said what a wonderful job John Price has done and recommended that they send me a letter thanking me for that work and saving the river and helping the flooding.”