Dead fish caused by chemical spill at Peterborough have reached Wisbech but worst may be over

DEAD fish caused by a chemical spill at Peterborough have passed through to Wisbech, says the Environment Agency.

But their spokesman said tonight that River Nene water quality in the centre of Peterborough was almost back to normal with no new fish deaths reported.

The Environment Agency, which yesterday linked a chemical spill of pesticides at Orton Southgate industrial estate with the death of an estimated 4,000 fish in the river, says the slug of dead fish has passed through to Wisbech.

“We are no longer seeing fish struggling in the water and believe the worst to have passed but we are staying alert and continuing to monitor throughout the week and weekend,” said Norman Robinson from the Agency.

Tens of thousands of fish were seen in distress along the length of river from Orton Mere to Wisbech after the 5,000 litre chemical spill at the weekend.

Now the Agency is waiting for results of water tests to confirm the danger has passed before giving the all clear to water users.

Throughout the week the Agency has been managing water flows between Orton Mere and the Dog in a Doublet Sluice to help dilute the chemical pollution which lowered the risk to wildlife.

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“We have been unable to save some fish and our biological surveys have shown there is likely to be a long-term impact on the flora and fauna of the river. The exact effect is not yet known,” said Mr Robinson.

He praised the support of anglers by not fishing along the affected stretch of the Nene to give remaining fish a chance to recover from the stress of the pollution.

A penstock close to Orton Southgate remains closed to prevent any further chemicals escaping to the river and the spill is being cleaned up.

The agency has also been in talks with organisations around the Wash to ensure the very small risk to waters beyond Wisbech is understood and managed.

Fish which died are mostly roach and not very large.

Any further reports of fish struggling should contact the Environment Agency emergency hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

The chemical spill at Orton Southgate is being investigated by police and the Environment Agency.

Businesses and farmers can take simple steps to prevent pollution including storing oils and chemicals safely and securely. For more tips see our ‘basic steps’ guide to preventing pollution at

If you see pollution, or want an update on an incident, call the Environment Agency’s Helpline on 0800807060.