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Mystery of 200 fish found dead at Meltham Mills reservoir

The Environment Agency is investigating after hundreds of fish were found dead at Meltham Mills reservoir

An investigation is under way today (Tues) after hundreds of fish were found dead in a Huddersfield reservoir.

Officials from the Environment Agency are probing the incident at Meltham Mills reservoir after being alerted by a member of the public to fish floating in the water and lying on the reservoir bank.

It is understood that the reservoir’s entire stock of about 200 fish, including pike, trout and roach, have died – drawing angry comments on social media.

The reservoir, stretching over five acres, is owned by property rental and development company Towndoor Ltd, based at Meltham Mills, and used by members of Windybank Fly Fishing Club.

Towndoor managing director Dan Bamforth said that following the latest annual inspection by the Environment Agency, the water level had been reduced in recent months for work to refurbish the valves used to release water if the reservoir was ever in danger of overflowing.

Mr Bamforth said there were no records stating the depth of the reservoir and it was not known to what degree the reservoir bed may have silted up. He said Towndoor had told the fishing club that it was lowering the water level and asked them to “keep an eye on the fish”.

After the fish were found dead, members of the fishing club had removed them and bagged them up at the side of the reservoir for collection by a specialist waste disposal company.

Mr Bamforth said: “The Environment Agency has been on site and they are investigating and will come back to us. We are just as keen as anyone else to find out why the fish died.”

Meltham Mills reservoir

Dathan Clegg, of Birkby, who grew up in Meltham Mills and played by the reservoir as a boy, said he was told of the incident by his friend Gary Turton, who discovered the fish.

Said Dathan: “The fish are just floating in the water. Everything in that reservoir is dead. No one is taking responsibility for all these fish, but there are hundreds of dead fish across the bank and in the water.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We were notified of the presence of dead fish at Meltham Mills Reservoir by a member of the public and our officers attended the site.

“Our investigations into the cause are currently ongoing. Anyone seeing fish in distress in a watercourse is asked to contact the Environment Agency’s 24-hour hotline on 0800 807060.”

Paul Jowett, chaiman of the fishing club, declined to comment.

Four years ago, Towndoor spent £750,000 carrying out major improvements at the reservoir to tighter flood risk safety requirements from the Environment Agency.

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