FOLLOWING the success of the Green Party in Mid Devon’s local elections in May, Green Party Co-leader Carla Denyer will be visiting Tiverton to meet community volunteers, councillors and local activist groups fighting against our sewage-infected rivers. 

Carla is a Bristol City Councillor, Prospective Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Bristol, and proposer of the first ever local authority Climate Emergency Motion in 2019.

She is dropping in at Tiverton on her way to North Devon on Thursday, July 13, between 10am and 11am.

She will receive a briefing about the state of the River Exe, the citizen science work being done by local volunteers and West Country Rivers Trust to test the water quality, and see the work that Tiverton’s Tree Team volunteers have put into the community orchard.

Sally Chapman, of Friends of the River Exe, will explain local concerns about the way sewage discharges and agricultural waste have diminished the biodiversity and fish in the river, and how community groups are working to protect, restore and celebrate the river.  

Sally said: “Climate change, with its increasingly frequent high rainfall events during winter months is adding to the problem of water companies saying they have to discharge excess rainwater and sewage into rivers and the seas - mostly due to massive underinvestment on their parts in water treatment infrastructure and leaking pipes.”

According to a recent report for West Country Rivers Trust, the Exe, like most West Country rivers, is failing Water Framework Directive (WFD) standards of ecological status along most of its length, and all of it fails chemical status. The report added that the main pressures are from sewage and agriculture with a lot of dairy as well as arable.  

Phil Turnbull, Fisheries and Biodiversity Advisor said: “My own assessments are that there are a number of really bad farms out there (in Devon), both dairy and beef (and some with) poor and insufficient slurry storage, despite quite an area within Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.”

Mid Devon District Council Green Party councillors Helen Tuffin and Mark Jenkins, two of the three Green councillors elected in May this year, will meet Carla.

They also want to brief her about the growing numbers of working people using food banks and the rising number of children in poverty.