River in ‘iconic’ Cotswold village that features on UK passports swamped with sewage and ‘dead fish’

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Residents protested in Bibury against the pollution in the River Coln blaming Thames Water for the “brown stuff that is engulfing everything”

The UK’s “quintessential village” and “iconic Cotswold scene” that features on the inside cover of British passports has been spoiled over sewage dumping into the river that runs through it.

Residents of several different villages along the Coln Valley staged their first protest in Bibury against the discharge of sewage on Saturday (22 April) in front of the famous 14th century cottages at Arlington Row and dressed in poo-related costumes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bibury is known for having a beautiful stretch of the river yet sewage discharges are taking place upstream at Andoversford and downstream in Fairford.

They slammed Thames Water, blaming the water company for the “brown stuff that is engulfing everything” and “dead fish floating” in the river.

The locals claim that the murky brown water running through Bibury is now too dangerous to dip a toe in - let alone for children to wade through.

Bibury is the idyllic depicted village featuring on the inside cover of all UK passports, and now demonstrators that live there want to make Thames Water think twice before releasing sewage into the water that runs through it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Bibury is the idyllic depicted village featuring on the inside cover of all UK passports. (Photo: Suswati Basu) Bibury is the idyllic depicted village featuring on the inside cover of all UK passports. (Photo: Suswati Basu)
Bibury is the idyllic depicted village featuring on the inside cover of all UK passports. (Photo: Suswati Basu) | Suswati Basu

Coln Residents Against Pollution (CRAP) member Katie Blackwell said: "We chose to live here because it is a quintessential village that the River Coln runs through. It is an iconic Cotswold scene but they are dumping sewage upstream.

"You can see the cloudiness in the water, you can see brown stuff that is engulfing everything instead of lovely green plants being able to grow. We have witnessed dead fish floating in the river."

Katie said that sewage is ruining the way people go about their lives as people no longer let their children play in the water or hang out on the water side.

She said the water “is no longer a place where we can meet friends and enjoy” and the residents are “sick of the sewage that is being pumped into our rivers - we are so fed up with it."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Residents protested in Bibury against the pollution in the River Coln blaming Thames Water for the “brown stuff that is engulfing everything”. (Photo: Oliver Blackwell Photography) Residents protested in Bibury against the pollution in the River Coln blaming Thames Water for the “brown stuff that is engulfing everything”. (Photo: Oliver Blackwell Photography)
Residents protested in Bibury against the pollution in the River Coln blaming Thames Water for the “brown stuff that is engulfing everything”. (Photo: Oliver Blackwell Photography) | Oliver Blackwell Photography

Ms Blackwell and her husband said they have a son who is eight months old and want him to grow up in a better world, the Daily Star reports.

She added: "We grew up in this area and as children we used to regularly play in the Coln River, it was part of our playground. Now we won’t let our children near the river as the sewage would make them ill or sick.

Residents of several different villages along the Coln Valley protested against the discharge of sewage dressed in poo-related costumes. (Photo: Oliver Blackwell Photography) Residents of several different villages along the Coln Valley protested against the discharge of sewage dressed in poo-related costumes. (Photo: Oliver Blackwell Photography)
Residents of several different villages along the Coln Valley protested against the discharge of sewage dressed in poo-related costumes. (Photo: Oliver Blackwell Photography) | Oliver Blackwell Photography

"Bibury is a popular tourist destination but many are oblivious to the damage the sewage is causing. We would love to work with Thames Water to solve this issue but it is a constant battle to get in contact with someone who works there."

A spokesperson for Thames Water said: “We don’t have a storm overflow point at Bibury, however taking action on river health is a key focus for us and we want to make discharges of untreated sewage unnecessary as quickly as possible.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We have an upgrade planned for Fairford sewage treatment works which is on the River Coln. This project will provide a major increase in treatment capacity, from 37.8 to 56.8 litres per second, reducing the need for untreated discharges in wet weather.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.