HEREFORDSHIRE’S general election candidates have given a mixed response to local campaigners’ calls for them to back clean-up proposals for the River Wye.

Umbrella group Save The Wye asked all general election candidates in North Herefordshire and in Hereford and South Herefordshire to back proposals in its Manifesto for the Wye, launched last month.

One demand is for an incoming government to establish a single, cross-border approach to tackling “the pollution crisis” in the river.

It also calls for the Wye to be designated a water protection zone to prevent further pollution from agricultural and other sources, for enforcement against polluters to be strengthened, and for moves to more “river-friendly farming” to be supported.

“So far in Herefordshire only Joe Emmett (Labour), Ellie Chowns and Diana Toynbee (Green Party) have endorsed the manifesto,” campaign coordinator David Gillam said.

Mr Emmett said: “The manifesto provides exciting solutions developed by local people. If elected, I will work with ministers to put these ideas into action.”

Dr Chowns said the manifesto “sets out a very clear and comprehensive plan for the action needed to save the Wye, in complete contrast to the Conservative government’s so-called Action Plan for the Wye”.

This, she claimed, “not only fails to address the problem, it actually promises a massive £35 million subsidy for the industrial poultry industry that has caused the most pollution”.

Conservative candidate Jesse Norman declined to endorse the manifesto and stood by the government’s action plan – which he earlier said was “not perfect, but establishes a vital direction of travel, with more funding than I had dared to hope for”.

He said he was “pleased to see” the manifesto supporting a call he first made over three years ago for the government to take a single all-Wye catchment approach.

He had also previously backed the idea of a water protection zone idea for the river, and two year ago had also pressed for a national rivers recovery fund to be funded by water fines, which the Government later accepted.

Save The Wye said local Liberal Democrat candidates did not respond to a request to endorse the manifesto – though the party’s candidate for neighbouring Brecon, Radnor & Cwm Tawe David Chadwick did endorse it.