Letter: Piling the blame on carpet-makers

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Sir: The caption under the photograph of the River Stour accompanying your report on allegations of river pollution ("Industry carpeted as pollution poses fresh threat to otter", 29 November) states that the river is "polluted by waste wool". Wool as such has little to do with it and is not the only fibre used in making carpets these days. The tiny quantities of sheep dip residuals cause the problem, and many of those showing up in the Stour arise upstream, probably from farm run-offs.

For a long time, no carpet firm has been allowed to let any industrial effluent run off directly into the river. They discharge into the sewage system and are subject to tough regulations over what can be accepted at the sewage works.

Even though some of the materials causing concern to environmentalists are already at levels so dilute as sometimes to be at the bottom edge of detectability, the local carpet industry has been co-operating closely with the water authorities over what further improvements might be made. Although the water quality of the Stour is not yet all it could be, at least it is not identifiably worse downstream of Kidderminster than above. I hear that great efforts are now being made to improve the quality upstream.

Yours faithfully,

Hugh G. W. Wilson

Executive Director

British Carpet Manufacturers' Association

London, W1

30 November