Communities condemn 'horrendous' brown silt pollution of local river

River Dee fishermen say they've witnessed multiple incidents of silt washing into the water near Banchory.

Anglers at one of Scotland’s most iconic rivers say the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has failed in its duty to protect it from ‘blatant pollution’.

Fishermen on the River Dee near Banchory, Aberdeenshire say they’ve witnessed multiple incidents of silt washing into the river over a number of months, with the most recent occurring on May 9.

They blame a nearby housing development situated about a mile up the hill from the river banks for allowing waste to flow down unchallenged into the water.

Local angler Ken Reid witnessed the latest incident and shared photos with STV News.

He said: “It’s just been horrendous. Anything that has heavy rain, there’s a terrific runoff that comes out here comes out these narrow pipes, that great force going out almost halfway across the river.

“There’s no filtration and there’s very little up at the site, where the pollution’s emanating from there should be hay bales crammed into the pipe there to gather all the muck that’s coming down to at least filter some of it, but it’s just pouring into the river.

“It’s not right. It’s against the law. But nobody seems to be getting held accountable.”

William Foster, manager of the the nearby Park Fishery blasted the pollution and highlighted the detrimental affects it may be having on the local wildlife – especially the salmon population.

Mr Foster said: “This is appalling. The management and governing bodies, especially SEPA, who are responsible for the River Dee’s salmon population need to act with more urgency when pollution like this is occurring.

“SEPA are our government body and you know, if they can’t control silt pollution, then it does make one think, are they serious enough about looking after the salmon?”

At the site on Tuesday it was business as usual – though a lorry pumping waste was present, a sign perhaps of the dialog between the builders and SEPA.

The Scottish Environmental protection agency say they’re engaging with the site developer and are in discussion on whether any offsite remedial works are required.

In a statement they said: “On Tuesday May 9 and Wednesday May 10, SEPA received reports from members of the public of pollution in the River Dee at Banchory.

“While our investigation into this incident is ongoing, SEPA is continuing to engage with the developer on surface water management on site.

“Actions required by SEPA earlier this year have been completed and we are also in discussions on whether any offsite remedial works are required.”

Developers, Kirkwood Homes, said they’d implemented enhanced and additional pollution protection measures in line with SEPA’s guidance.

A spokesperson from Kirkwood Homes said: “Kirkwood Homes is continuing to work with SEPA in relation to an issue at the River Dee near our Inchmarlo site.

“Our team has implemented enhanced and additional pollution protection measures in line with SEPA’s guidance.”