Fish killed in Peterborough chemical spill

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Media captionPolice are investigating how the pesticide came to be in the river

Thousands of fish have died after 5,000 litres of toxic chemicals leaked into a river near Peterborough at the weekend.

The Environment Agency has linked the spillage of pesticides in the River Nene at Orton Southgate with the deaths of the fish and said thousands more could die.

It has also led to the closure of a seafood fishery in King's Lynn on the advice of the Food Standards Agency.

Stocks landed will be tested for possible contamination.

Boats will not be allowed to fish on Wednesday.

Sections of the river from Orton Mere to Wisbech are affected.

Cause investigated

The agency said some roach, loach, eels, perch and tench would probably die but others are expected to recover.

Full results of water samples are expected late on Wednesday.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: "Although the pollution is very toxic to the environment around Peterborough, the agency has been managing water flows between Orton Mere and the Dog in a Doublet Sluice to help dilute it.

"This has lowered the risk to people in contact with the water, although they are still advised to from stay away from it as a precaution.

"Anglers are being advised to stop fishing the stretch for a few days to give remaining fish a chance to recover."

The agency has alerted organisations and agencies which use the river or extract its waters.

Caution urged

Staff are also in talks with groups around the Wash to ensure the risk to waters beyond Wisbech is understood and managed.

A sluice close to Orton Southgate has been closed to prevent any further chemicals escaping to the river, and the spill is being cleaned up.

"We are urging people to be cautious over the next few days even though the risk is very small," the Environment Agency said.

"We are doing everything we can to establish the level of pollution in the Nene and to ensure it has as little effect on wildlife and people as possible."

A police spokesman said they were working with the Environment Agency to discover the cause of the chemical spill.

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