Thank you United Utilities

I asked United Utilities for some information on two subjects on 2 March and got my first reply on 19 March – that’s a hell of a lot quicker than Natural England usually manage. Thank you United Utilities.

This question was about lead levels in water. This subject came up in questions after my talk in Preston on 25 February when a gentleman suggested that lead levels might be higher in areas shot regularly for Red Grouse (such as the nearby Forest of Bowland) and I said I wasn’t aware of any such evidence and that it seemed a bit unlikely to me because the uplands are a big place with lots of water! And that if there were a problem I’d expect water companies to know about it and be doing something about it.

Seems like my intuition was right according to the information sent to me by UU.

Dear Dr Avery
Thank you for your recent 2 enquiries.
I shall respond to you under separate cover, as soon as I am in a position to, in respect of your request regarding the numbers of Red Grouse shootings. This will be under my reference ID578 in the subejct header.
In the meantime, kindly note my response to your other queries:
1. Has UU tested levels of lead in water in different upland catchments?  Yes, we analyse for lead in the raw waters in our catchments
2.  Is UU aware (either through its own studies or those of others) of any evidence that links elevated lead levels in water to the occurrence/frequency/amount of shooting (for game (such as Pheasants or Red Grouse) or at targets (such as clays) in catchments?  We routinely monitor lead in our raw waters and are not aware of any links between the occurrence of shooting and an increased concentration of lead in those raw water catchments.
3. Does UU have any concerns about the amount of Red Grouse shooting in catchments such as the Forest of Bowland and lead levels in water?  We do not have any concerns about the concentration of lead in our raw water sources.

Utility companies are subject to these types of request. As you can see, I asked another question and I am waiting to hear the answer.


4 Replies to “Thank you United Utilities”

  1. It is noted that they only replied to half of question number three. So, do they have concerns about the amount of Red Grouse shooting?
    Since we now know that DGS and criminality go hand in hand, perhaps it’s time for them to take another look at the first part of your question.

  2. I’ve been following up the use of medicated grit on Broomhead estate – dense concentrations of grit stations with the grit placed directly on the ground. The concern here is Flubendazole. NE have no idea if medicated grit is being used here, they do not check. Veterinary Medicines Directorate do not give consent either just require guidelines to be followed. VMD are concerned in this case and looked at an enforcement action but won’t tell me the outcome even after a FOI. Yorks Water fobbed me off until I said it was a potential pollution incident – they are then obliged to provide data. Then found out they don’t test for Flubendazole in our water on the basis of a desk based assessment, which appears contradictory to some of the research. Am I confident grouse moors are not polluting our water supplies – NO.

    1. The immediate question arising from this is, if the medicated grit is on the ground not in a grit box how do they ensure grouse shot have had the required time off medicated grit to be fit for the food chain? Also what effect is a medication having on the fauna and flora immediately around the gritting sites? this sounds terrible practice to me!!!! Keep up the fight Bob.

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