Chorley fisherman calls for heavier penalties after 'paint-like' substance turns river white

The owner of a barbershop and keen trout fisherman from Chorley is calling on heavier fines to be handed out to businesses dumping waste material into the River Chor.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 2:57 pm

Peter Scholes walks past the River Chor every day when strolling through Astley Park and noticed the water had turned a cloudy white colour yesterday.

And he claims it is not the first time that the river, which runs through the park and the Chorley North Industrial Estate, has been polluted after it turned black from waste oil earlier this year.

Pictures taken yesterday, June 23, showed the water had turned white after a 'milky paint-like' substance had somehow ended up colouring the river.

Chorley fisherman and barber Peter calls for heavier penalties after 'paint-like' substance turned the river white
Chorley fisherman and barber Peter calls for heavier penalties after 'paint-like' substance turned the river white

Although the source of the substance has not been confirmed, fisherman Peter suspects it is down to businesses failing to dispose of waste properly.

Peter, owner of Groom High Street, said: "I heard about the river turning white so went down myself to take a look. I walk past every day and had a shock when I saw it was completely white and looked like paint or milk had been poured into it.

"It is happening all over the country and it is not good for nature or the wildlife. It really is terrible what is happening - it only takes a cup of bleach to kill an entire river but people just don't realise it.

"It is down to pure laziness, people find it a lot easier just to dump substances like paint down the drain instead of going to the tip but they don't think of the consequences."

Pictures appeared to show the water had turned white yesterday

In January, barber and ex-engineer Peter claimed he had to avoid the river for three months after waste oil had contaminated in the river and turned it black.

He said years of industrial waste has meant there is very little fish or other wildlife in the river, warning that pollution is quickly becoming more of a hazard for families and their pets.

He added: "I know the smell of oil and back in January it was completely black and absolutely stank. It is such a shame as the river runs through the park and could be enjoyed by so many people but this is dangerous.

"I contacted the Environment Agency who were very helpful and wanted to know all the information about what happened. Pouring substances down the drain is the worst thing businesses can do and people need more education on the damage it can cause.

Peter claimed it is a growing problem in the area and causes danger to wildlife

"It happens all over the country where rivers are being destroyed by industry. We need to see larger fines and punishments being given to businesses and people otherwise this won't stop happening. Rivers are just being wiped out by complete ignorance."

The Post understands that officers from the Environment Agency attended the site of the river yesterday afternoon after receiving reports, but that the substance had washed away due to the rain and could therefore no longer be traced. They will not be carrying out any further investigations.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Thank you to the members of the public who alerted us to the pollution in the River Chor through Astley Park yesterday.

"When our officers visited the site, the pollution had cleared and hadn’t caused any lasting harm to the local wildlife or the environment.

“Anyone witnessing pollution or any other environmental incident can call our free 24-hour hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”

Cllr Alistair Morwood, Executive Member for Planning and Development at Chorley Council, said: “We are extremely saddened by this incident of environmental vandalism.

“Polluting waterways in this manner is an offence. We kindly ask all businesses and residents to respect our local environment, including our waterways, and show consideration for our precious wildlife.

“We would also urge any resident with concerns about damage or danger to the natural environment to please alert the Environment Agency via their free 24-hour Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or online at www.gov.uk/report-an-environmental-incident.”

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