Wigan beauty spot pollution alert

Westleigh Brook
Westleigh Brook

Environment officers are monitoring a Wigan nature reserve after a fuel spill polluted a watercourse.

The initial incident occurred on Priestner’s Way in Leigh when fuel leaked from a truck after it was damaged by a loose grid which ruptured its diesel tank.

Action was quickly taken in a bid to prevent any of the leaked fuel from entering the drains and the road was covered with sand to allow for remaining diesel to be soaked up.

However, reports have emerged of pollution at Westleigh Brook in Pennington Flash, a natural water source which is home to hundreds of fish and wild birds.

Christine Johnson noticed the fuel odour while she was out walking her dog and called the Environment Agency.

“I spotted the oil on my dog walk,” she said.

“Actually I smelled it first. It reeked.

“I understand the management at Pennington Flash had also reported it.

“I walked the length of the brook that I could reach through the Flash and thankfully didn’t spot any dead fish.

“However, there were very few wildfowl around so they are obviously giving it a wide berth.

“That amount of oil will cause oxygenation problems in the water even if it doesn’t directly poison the fish, so the fish may die later and many of the wildfowl rely on the fish as their food supply so there may be long-term impacts on them too. It’s very sad.

“Perhaps the oil spill accident was not managed as carefully as it could have been.”

At the time of the incident, firefighters acted quickly to block nearby drains and moved the vehicle onto a petrol forecourt - which have specially-designed draining systems to deal with fuel spills.

The road was also sanded to absorb the remaining diesel, which was to be cleaned up by Wigan Council after around three days.

Environment Agency officers have since been visiting the site to assess if any noticeable damage has taken

place.