A WILDLIFE charity has said it is “extremely concerned” after high levels of fuel and oil pollution entered the water at a nature reserve.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust says wildlife is suffering after the pollution entered the water at its Lower Test nature reserve.

This comes after oil and fuel was seen in the River Test near Redbridge Flyover resulting in the apparent death of a young swan.

Now the charity says wildlife at the reserve are being “covered in fuel oil” and the deaths of a cygnet and fish in the area are being linked to the pollution.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Further impacts on aquatic life and migratory fish are inevitable. This is completely unacceptable.

“We believe that the fuel pollution has reached our reserve due to historic and ongoing inputs from the industrial estate on adjoining land which, due to heavy rains, has caused an oil interceptor to flood diesel into our reserve.”

Daily Echo: Booms in place in the contaminated water at Lower Test nature reserve. Photo by: Charlie Bull.Booms in place in the contaminated water at Lower Test nature reserve. Photo by: Charlie Bull.

Southern Water said last week that contamination had entered the River Test from the nearby industrial estate directly from its surface water network after heavy rainfall.

It claimed it is working with the Environment Agency as it investigates having identified two nearby motoring businesses that could be responsible.

But now the Wildlife Trust says the pollution, which it claims entered from Nursling Industrial Estate, is causing “long-lasting damage to the protected habitats”.

The charity spokesperson added: “Over the past few months we have repeatedly contacted the relevant authorities, including the Environment Agency and Southern Water, asking them to make identifying the source and cleaning up the diesel pollution a priority.

“The response so far has been inadequate, and we are demanding an immediate response to ensure that action is taken against the company responsible for the fuel leak to stop further pollution and that they provide compensation to restore damage to our nature reserve and safeguard this irreplaceable habitat and its wildlife.”

Southern Water said it is “not responsible for this diesel spill but is working hard to mitigate the environmental impact this may have.

“A robust and regular maintenance schedule for the outfall where the surface drain with the diesel has been emerging has long been in place. The site has been properly maintained and flows are not restricted by any blockages.

“The outfall always has booms in place to prevent the escape of general run off and debris. The booms have been regularly replaced during this sad incident and we are also using specialist equipment to remove and clean contaminated water.