To the delight of environmentalists around the Bristol area, nature officers from Bristol City Council have announced that otters have been seen in and around the city’s floating harbour area.

The otter population had been decimated in the region by the 1970s due to pollution in the River Avon and surrounding water courses so the return of the otters is a good sign that water quality is improving.

The head of environment and conservation at Wessex Water, Ruth Barden, stated:

“Just over 50 years ago Bristol’s floating harbour was dominated by industry, under little environmental control, polluting the river that was already plagued with untreated sewage.

“Through substantial investment we are now in the position where Bristol city centre is one of the most sought after places to live, work and visit, with the river being a focal point of the city.

“It is fantastic news that water quality has improved so much so that wildlife is also benefiting.”

Wessex Water have spent millions of pounds over the years making upgrades to Bristol’s aging sewer system, so contaminated water does not enter the River Avon and associated tributaries. And, it finally looks to have paid dividends.

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