Conservation groups are making a timely launch of their Manifesto for the Wye at the Hay Festival, which begins today.

With the general election now just six weeks away, Save The Wye, Friends of the River Wye, CPRE Herefordshire, Wye Salmon Association, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and Radnorshire Wildlife Trust are demanding what they say are the key actions needed to restore the river, officially in an “unfavourable, declining” state, to health.

They are calling on UK and Wales governments to establish a single, cross-border approach across the river catchment, for the Wye to be designated a water protection zone, for more enforcement action against polluters, for financial support for farmers to move to more river-friendly farming, and for more honest labelling of products.

They also want to see a moratorium on all new intensive poultry and other livestock units and a progressive plan to reduce the amount of animals in the catchment.

The groups say the government’s River Wye Action Plan unveiled last month “falls far short of what’s needed to rescue the river, so we’re putting forward our people’s plan for the Wye and we hope the next government will implement it”.

Other conservation groups River Action and the Soil Association “have already voiced their support for the manifesto and we hope more organisations and individuals will get behind it”, the groups added.

They are asking visitors to the literary festival, which runs until June 2, to share photos or videos of themselves with the manifesto in order to spread its message.

The manifesto has its own website at .

An accompanying exhibition showcases environmentally friendly farming practices in the Wye catchment.

Eamon Bourke, a trustee of Friends of the River Wye responsible for the photography project, said: “Farmers working with nature and leading the change is where hope lies for the Wye.”

The exhibition also features stories and images of the river’s “citizen scientists” who monitor pollution in it.