AVARA FOODS has defended its record following a firm of solicitors announcing a legal claim against the integrator over pollution in the River Wye.

Avara said in response: “We are confident that there is no case to defend but, if forced to do so, we would pursue Leigh Day to recover any costs we incur.”

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Leigh Day said it would ask anyone impacted by increasing pollution levels to join the claim, whether because they own property adjacent to the river or enjoy its amenities.

The firm added the case would be brought to seek compensation for historic pollution – since the beginning of this year, all manure in Avara’s supply chain is exported out of the catchment.

It is understood court proceedings have not yet been filed.

River health

Leigh Day partner Oliver Holland said: “We consider that the significant decline in the health of the River Wye over the last few years is clearly linked to the significant increase in intensive poultry farming in the main brought about by Avara Foods.”

An Avara Foods spokesperson hit back at the firm, saying the claim “ignores the long-standing use of phosphate-rich fertiliser by arable farms as well as the clear scientific data showing the issue of excess phosphorus considerably pre-dates the growth of poultry farms in the Wye catchment”.

“This is a year-old, opportunistic attempt to profit from a serious environmental issue. It has no merit and is not supported by evidence or expert opinion,” they added.