Rock singer turned environmental campaigner Feargal Sharkey visited the River Wye last week as part of a tour of the UK’s best loved river and seas to highlight water pollution, Visiting the Wye River Feargal Sharkey met with Labour’s candidate for Monmouthshire, Catherine Fookes to highlight his campaign. Standing on the banks of the Wye, Sharkey recalled the first time he fly-fished on this river near Monmouth’s Rockfield Studios, when he was frontman of The Undertones, known for hits like Teenage Kicks and Here Comes The Summer. He is still a regular visitor to the constituency, and is now the President of Labour’s Environment Campaign,  SERA who are campaigning to tackle water pollution across the UK. His tour is in support of Labour candidates who are members of the campaign and standing in the July 4th election.   Speaking to local campaigners and activists, Sharkey said: “This lady standing next to my right-hand side, Catherine Fookes – you need to elect her, because I know she’s going to go out there. She’s going to deliver”.

Feargal Sharkey said: “I’ve spent over 50 years of my life doing this – standing on the banks of rivers. I’ve watched them decline, and that has to stop. This lady standing next to my right has convinced me she’s got the determination, the will, the ambition and the drive to do just that. Get out on July 4. Make sure we change what’s going on across the UK. Make sure Catherine becomes the next MP for Monmouthshire.” Catherine Fookes said: “I know if you’ve got a campaigner like  Feargal Sharkey endorsing you, you will be held to account. So my message to residents is this – if I'm elected as Monmouthshire’s next MP, I will do absolutely everything in my power working with the citizen’s groups and the authorities to clean up our rivers.” “Across Britain, coasts, rivers and lakes are impacted by illegal pollution. In England, the Conservatives have turned a blind eye, and weakened regulation, with serious damage done to people’s health, our countryside and the tourism industry.” Co-Chairs of Labour’s Environment Campaign Ken Penton and Lisa Trickett said: “This campaign could not be clearer – it’s time to stop the mess that is this Tory government and put nature and our environment back at the centre of the government’s priorities. “Only a Labour Government, led by Keir Starmer, working with a Welsh Labour Government that is already taking action to improve water quality, will protect our vital waterways – the rivers and seas that we love and rely on. We will be working hard with Feargal to highlight the mess – literally – that the Tories have made of our waters and to elect a change of government with a change of policy. We look forward to working with Catherine Fookes to ensure that Labour clean up our rivers and beaches.” A UK Labour Government would give regulators new powers to block the payment of bonuses to executives who pollute our waterways. In Wales, three times as many rivers achieve good or better ecological status than in England. As well as the Better River Quality Taskforce focusing on sewage pollution and nutrients boards, the Welsh Labour Government pioneered the River Summits, which are chaired by the First Minister and bring all stakeholders together to tackle all sources of pollution. This approach is key to ensuring the trend of improving water quality in Wales continues. Welsh Labour is also committed to improving water quality by reviewing agricultural pollution regulations and tackling metal mine pollution. The Welsh Labour Government has now invested £15 million since 2020, with another £5 million planned for 2024-25.