Growing fears over Leeds river pollution

CONCERNS: Workers at a business next to the River Aire has seen a substance passing their office.
CONCERNS: Workers at a business next to the River Aire has seen a substance passing their office.
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“Disgusting thick brown scum” seen floating by one of Leeds’s top tourist spots has led to worries about pollution in the River Aire.

An employee of technology firm IC Blue on Neptune Street across the water from the Royal Armouries said that what seems like “factory discharge” has been passing by over the last six weeks.

European sales executive Mike Jones, of Bramley, said: “It appears on certain days as a disgusting looking thick brown scum on the water and on other days its seems more ‘foamy’ like someone has poured washing up liquid into the River.”

He said that the amount of scum that builds up is dependent on conditions such as wind direction and the speed of water flow.

Mr Jones said it has been a big talking point in the office over the last few weeks.

“Some concern has been expressed for kids fishing with their lines dangling in the scum and of course for the wildlife.

“We regularly see a variety birds, from the obvious ducks to Cormorants, Herons and even Kingfishers, which are a joy to see this deep in the city.”

The issue has been reported to the Environment Agency, which sent an employee out late last week, who found that the substance seemed to have dissipated at that point.

A spokesman said: “The Environment Agency attended the site following a report of an incident by a member of the public.

“Investigations are currently ongoing and we have informed the Canal & River Trust.”

Anyone who sees pollution in the River Aire or any other watercourse is asked to contact the agency’s 24-hour hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

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