AN environmental body has expressed “deep regret” over the fact they have been unable to prosecute those responsible for an incident that killed almost 50,000 fish, as there is no realistic prospect of conviction.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said it had “exhausted” every lead and done everything it could to prove what happened in the River Llynfi incident last year. On July 31, 2020, a “major” pollution incident was reported on the river, which runs through south Powys, from Bwlch, into Llangorse Lake, and then north through the villages of Talgarth and Bronllys before entering the River Wye just upstream of Glasbury.

At the time, NRW said the pollution that entered the river had a “devastating impact” on fish and other wildlife and vegetation, but suspected that around 10,000 fish would have died.

An overarching investigation and a fish-kill assessment has now estimated that more than 45,000 fish and other river life died in the incident.

“Our officers have been appalled by the damage caused to the River Llynfi by this incident and are very disappointed that we have not been able to bring those responsible to justice,” said Ann Weedy, NRW’s operations manager for Mid Wales.

“We have exhausted every lead and done everything we can to be able to prove what happened, but with the deepest regret, this investigation has now ended.

“We will consider reopening the investigation if compelling new evidence comes to light. If anyone has such evidence, we urge them to contact us.”


Estimated figures are based on an extrapolation of a sample, and not an actual count.

NRW said its investigation team worked tirelessly to investigate and seek to gather evidence to establish what happened and to bring the person or people responsible for polluting the river to justice. However, there is no realistic prospect of conviction against any company or individual and therefore no charges will be brought against anyone in relation to the incident.

“The River Llynfi is a Site of Special of Scientific Interest in a Special Area of Conservation,” added Ms Weedy.

“The fact that such a significant number of aquatic animals died in the incident shows just how rich the wildlife was in this small tributary river. Thankfully, assessments we carried out earlier this year are showing promising signs of recovery in the river.”