THE Environment Agency has now confirmed it is investigating a huge fuel leak spotted in the River Mersey in Warrington.

Residents living near Howley Industrial Estate reported to the agency and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service what they say appeared to be a diesel spillage in the river on Friday evening.

Firefighters attended the scene off Howley Lane that evening and noticed a strong smell of fuel, and they returned in the daylight on Saturday morning.

They were able to stem the flow of the leak and used pads to absorb the substance from the water.

The Warrington Guardian previously approached the Environment Agency for a comment, but was told that it had no record of any reports of the incident.

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However, the agency has since said it is now investigating to prevent such an occurrence from happening in the future.

A spokesman said: “Environment Agency officers have attended a pollution incident on the River Mersey in Warrington.

“Investigations are currently ongoing, and we are working with partners to help progress our enquiries.

“Therefore, in order not to prejudice our investigations, we are unable to comment further.”

“Environmental incidents can be reported to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60”

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According to residents, this is not the first time that fuel has been spotted seeping into the river, but they said that this is the worst they have seen.

They went as far as labelling it as a ‘huge environmental risk’ and said they have reported it many times to the Environment Agency, but when an officer visits to inspect the scene, the leak has always stopped and drifted away.

After being called out the scene, a spokesman for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Firefighters from Lymm were called to the Howley Lane area of Warrington at around 10.15pm on Friday following reports of a smell of diesel.

“Firefighters from Warrington returned at around 9.05am on Saturday to inspect the scene during daylight hours and found an oily substance in the River Mersey.

“Absorbent pads and an environmental grab pack were used to stem the flow of the substance before handing the scene to the Environment Agency.”