The Environment Agency (EA) and Herefordshire Council are using satellite imaging to identify where soily water is washing into rivers and covering roads.
The issue causes a problem both for water quality and for driving conditions, seen especially during last week’s wet weather. It can also worsen flooding.
Satellite and drone photograph will be used to identify bare, sloping agricultural fields where soil is most likely to be washed away during heavy rain. Landowners will be visited and provided with guidance on better soil management.
Doing so should boost the status of the river Wye, a special area of conservation that is vulnerable to pollution from Herefordshire’s fine, sandy soils. They can become very mobile during heavy rain and cover up the gravel bottom of the river, damaging the habitat it provides.
Dave Throup, EA environment manager for Herefordshire said: “Agricultural pollution and soil run-off is a significant problem, which is why we are using targeted patrols and a number of other methods to try and tackle the issue. Working with our partners from Herefordshire Council and Natural Resources Wales, we can identify those sites that pose a risk to the environment and work with farmers to prevent pollution incidents happening in the first place.”