I was deeply concerned to read of a suspected pollution incident close to the River Weaver upstream of Northwich.

A tractor was reportedly pulling a slurry tanker through Audlem, near Nantwich, when roads, pavements and buildings got sprayed with the agricultural waste.

Farm workers were filmed washing the slurry into drains that lead to the nearby river.

Campaign group Restore The Weaver said it would have been far better to report the incident to the Environment Agency (EA) for them to seal the drains and tanker it all away.

The Weaver is incredibly important to wildlife and the people of Cheshire, including my Northwich constituents, downstream of where the slurry is believed to have entered the water.

EA officers have been on site investigating a suspected pollution incident. The agency said plans to restock the river with fish following a previous pollution incident last October had been postponed.

While there were no reports the incident was malicious, this is the latest of multiple pollution events affecting the Weaver. Prosecution of those responsible must be considered.

It’s a big concern for the river’s ecosystem, for anglers and those involved in water sports, as well as for residents and businesses.

Worryingly, at a national level it’s been reported the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which is responsible for the EA, is facing an 11 per cent cut to its budget.

Equally concerning is that our water companies are often the ones dumping significant levels of raw sewage into our rivers, lakes, and seas.

A recent BBC Panorama investigation found evidence United Utilities, which serves our area, was wrongly downgrading its own pollution incidents.

And despite high levels of sewage pollution, water bills for customers across the Northwest are set to rise by £110 over the next five years!

For far too long, water companies have been allowed to look after their shareholders instead of investing in our infrastructure.

Northwich Guardian: Jim McMahon, Mike Amesbury and Feargal SharkeyJim McMahon, Mike Amesbury and Feargal Sharkey (Image: Supplied)

Last year, on World Water Day, I joined then Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon and Feargal Sharkey, a formidable environmental campaigner and former lead singer of The Undertones, to back Labour’s pledge to end the Tory sewage scandal.

We would give watchdog Ofwat powers to ban the payment of bonuses to irresponsible water bosses. Because the disgusting practices at play are bad for us and our environment.