Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman has come under fire for his voting record regarding pollution in the River Wye.

Mayor Ed O’Driscoll and Mr Norman hashed it out on Twitter over the weekend in a heated exchange.

Following the vote on the environment bill in the commons, Cllr O’Driscoll said that Mr Norman: “makes a lot of noise about working to clean up the River Wye but when push comes to shove...”

Mr Norman responded that he’s backing: “The UK’s first properly legislated targets, much higher capital investment by water companies, and a proper enforcement regime with a new and powerful regulator.”

To which Cllr O’Driscoll pushed back: “You’ve given water companies another 15 years to continue pumping sewage into our rivers, pathetically weak targets that will only benefit their shareholders.”

The back-and-forth happened following the votes on a number of deferred divisions on draft environmental targets on January 25, where Mr Norman voted in favour of his party’s targets along with Monmouth’s David Davies, and Forest of Dean’s Mark Harper.

Around 20 local protesters against the dumping of sewage and the run-off of phosphates from chicken factories into the River Wye have installed satirical blue plaques on bridges in Hereford to highlight the shocking state of the waterways.

Members of Marches Climate Action, an off-shoot of Marches Extinction Rebellion unveiled the blue plaques Hereford’s Old Bridge and other locations in the city as part of a national day of action across the UK.

The plaques highlight the government’s continued failure to tighten environmental regulations and stop profit-grabbing by water companies. The plaques read: “Jesse Norman abstained on a vote requiring water companies to dump less raw sewage into our waterways and seas, October 20, 2021.”

Paul Healy, College Lecturer from Bromyard and spokesperson for Marches Climate Action said: “We’ve watched in horror as our rivers and seas have become open sewers since October 2021, when the government voted down a proposal to stop water companies pumping waste directly into our rivers. They justified this by claiming that the proposal was too expensive. These plaques shine a light on the government’s failure to protect our waterways, the natural world, and all of us. Moreover, despite helping to set up the River Commission and setting a five year plan to tackle pollution in the River Wye, Jesse Norman and Bill Wiggin failed to vote for an amendment to legislation that would limit how much sewage water companies can dump in our rivers and seas. Jesse Norman says that the Government amendment is stronger than the one that he helped vote down: he is, quite straightforwardly wrong, as detailed by The River Trust”