Jackie Porter

Liberal Democrat Councillor and Prospective MP for Winchester and Chandler's Ford Learn more

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Watercress Packers Bakkavor seek renewal of permission to put chlorine ridden water into the Itchen

by Jackie Porter on 29 January, 2018

Water quality in the Itchen is really important, so we shouldn’t be allowing chlorine and nitrates to flow into the river as trade effluent.

There is a Facebook campaign to stop the renewal licence allowing Bakkavor (industrial salad washing plant) dumping their factory’s daily TRADE EFFLUENT containing a cocktail of powerful chlorinated chemicals into the head waters of the River Itchen.

But I would like you to look at the application- and if like me, you object, please write in to do so. Thank you.

Why is this important?

Bakkavor Alresford Salads have applied to the Environment Agency for a renewal licence to continue to put into the river their daily factory wash down described as TRADE EFFLUENT containing a cocktail of powerful chlorinated chemicals to replace and supposedly improve on the chlorine based biocide they have been using for years.

Their impenetrable application can be found at
link to Bakkavor application here

This application is important to the river and the environment and raises many questions, some of which are listed below;
Is the quality of the river Itchen important?
YES. It is protected by being in a Site Special Scientific Interest and has the highest European rating as a Special Area of Conservation.

Has the Environment Agency, charged with protection of this pristine and iconic river, been successful over the last twenty years?
NO. Alresford Pond is now full of man made chemicals and the Upper Itchen fails water quality objectives under the Water Framework Directive and falls short of conservation objectives under the EU Habitats Directive.

How does the Upper Itchen compare with other rivers?
VERY BADLY. Directly comparable sampling has shown that the Upper Itchen carries about 5% of the shrimp population in the upper river Meon which has no washing plant. This is indicative of what is happening to all fly and bug life in the Itchen.

Is the water quality in the Itchen improving?
There is NO EVIDENCE that it is and much evidence of a thirty year uninterrupted decline.

Does polluting the river matter?
YES. It matters to all aquatic life from sticklebacks to trout and much bird life from king fishers to swifts.

Does chlorine discharged from the factory dissipate?
YES after years if discontinued.

If this licence renewal is refused is there an alternative?
YES. The factory should connect to the sewer for all contaminated water.Or move the factory to a location with mains water and drainage.

Has the Environment Agency required any other company to do this?

YES. The salad washing plant at St Mary Bourne was obliged to make this connection years ago despite the Bourne not having the environmental protection of the Itchen..

Can the company afford the cost of making the connection?
YES. The owners Bakkovor, a multinational company, has an income of £1.7billion a year.
If the contaminated factory discharge went to the sewer would it resolve the river’s pollution problem? Probably not but it would be a first step.

IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THIS LICENCE SHOULD NOT BE ISSUED BY THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY YOU SHOULD WRITE TO: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY, Permitting and Support Centre, WQ Team, Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, SHEFFIELD , S9 4WF
Or email psc-waterquality@environment-agency.gov.uk quoting Alresford Salads
THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENT IS FEB 15

Although not directly relevant to this licence you might also ask yourself whether you think that the pesticides, insecticides, fertilizer, soil or whatever, should not be washed off these salad vegetables in the various countries of their origin rather than trucked or flown and trucked to Alresford to be washed into the pure spring water of the River Itchen.

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