Jane Dodds has asked the Welsh Government to do more to improve water quality in the River Wye.

The Mid and West Wales MS said at the Senedd there have recently been “significant developments” from a group who have applied for bathing status to be applied to a portion of the River Wye - an application which has been refused by the Government.

Friends of the River Wye (FRW) had applied to have the river at the Warren, Hay-on-Wye given bathing water status, given its documented popularity with river users.

This would have required the Welsh Government to monitor and improve its water quality, and let potential swimmers know if the water was safe to swim in or not.

But the Welsh Government rejected its bid - because it would clash with environmental designations the river already has.

As it is both a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and special area of conservation (SAC), activities such as swimming, canoeing and even walking along the river must be assessed and granted consent by Natural Resources Wales.

At the Senedd, Ms Dodds said: “There is a degree of irony in that the reason it has been refused is to protect biodiversity and the area from significant overcrowding.

“Yet the water remains significantly polluted, and people like me are still swimming in it.”

Despite being marked as a Special Area of Conservation, the river has suffered in recent years from high levels of pollution.

Ms Dodds suggested the Government should bring people together to discuss the pollution issue in the River Wye in an effort to make the water cleaner.

Government Business Minister Jane Hutt said the impact on swimming, canoeing and walking has to be assessed by Natural Resources Wales.

She said: “So, my understanding is that it has not been designated as bathing water in this bathing season, but it will be considered for designation in the future.

“I'm sure the Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change will want to respond to your proposal that people could be brought together to look at the interacting needs of that wonderful part of Wales.”