New toxic scare hits fish pond

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A WIGAN pond where fish stocks were wiped out by industrial pollution was today at the centre of another deadly scare.

Anglers have reported more dead fish floating on the surface of Scot Lane New Pond, at Martland Mill, after a mysterious oily scum began spreading over the surface.

The Environment Agency carried out an emergency operation to prevent the disaster from spreading.

Agency scientists are now analysing samples as they begin the task of tracking down the killer source.

Last month, food giant Hazeldene Foods, of Martland Park, was ordered to pay almost £20,000 in fines and costs after admitting pouring salad waste and effluent down a rain water drain.

The incident killed more than half a ton of prized coarse fish, and the firm agreed to fund a full restocking of the water.

Jimmy Pidgeon, secretary of Wigan and District Angling Association, said: “We have had another pollution scare, which looks like animal fat came down a drain.

“We got the EA out straight away and they have taken samples and put a boom across to confine it to one section. We are not out of the woods yet, but we are monitoring it.”

Secretary of Lancashire Fisheries Consultative Association, John Weedon, of Abram, pictured, said: “The number of pollution incidents - seven major incidents in three years - is ridiculous.

“Firms need to be far more careful with their waste. Angling Trust nationally is still campaigning for an increase in fines from a maximum of £50,000.

“But the £30,000 penalty for the one ton of fish killed last year is an improvement on the £10,000 and £15,000 fines. The EA say that fines are too low.

“But for the terrific efforts of fisheries officers on the ground going way beyond the call of duty we could have been quite easily looking at fish losses in thee mega millions.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said it had identified the substance as old edible oil or fat which they say has come from the rainwater outfall system from Martland Park Industrial Estate.

It is now satisfied with oxygen levels in the fishery but will leave the oil boom in place for some time until they can be sure that there will be no repeat.

Inquiries are continuing to find the source of the latest pollution.

The agency is appealing for anybody with information about the pollution to ring 0800 807060.