A Test Valley MP has hosted a round-table discussion after a diesel spill in the River Test.

Caroline Nokes, who represents areas from Longparish down to Romsey, brought together a range of organisations including The Environment Agency and the Wessex Rivers Trust to discuss the clean-up and how to prevent future incidents in this area. The incident occurred last month, when oil was found in groundwater during heavy rain, leaking into the river.

She said: “What is imperative is that there is a co-ordinated approach to the clean-up, enforcement and the prevention of future incidents.

“I was very reassured that the Environment Agency and Natural England have a clear plan.

“I remain of the view that if action is successful and fines are levied, there needs to be a mechanism for money recovered from polluters to be spent locally, to make good any environmental impact and introduce new schemes and improvements.

“There was a recurring message about the need for all activities this close to the river to be effectively monitored for the pollution risk, and it was very clear to me that the Environmental Agency needs to be properly funded to enable that to happen.”

The fuel spill has left a significant impact on the nature reserve and earlier this month, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Trust linked the pollution to a dead cygnet and some fish as animals were seen covered in fuel.

Excavations have already been made to create sumps to intercept fuel before it reaches the surface water sewer network and tankers are skimming any residual oil from the flow in the sewer downstream.

A multi-layered series of booms, oil absorbent pads and vacuum skimmers have been set out on the outfall and in the immediate area of the watercourse and a temporary oil separation facility has been set up so that liquid can be treated on-site.

Southern Water has offered to undertake a review of surface drainage at the Nursling Estate, as well as confirming it will line a length of sewer pipe to reduce the risk of fuel leaking into the sewer system from the surrounding ground, with work 'to begin as soon as possible.'

The news follows a series of water quality incidents in Andover and the surrounding villages.

Villages teamed up to confront Southern Water over the pumping of dilute sewage into one of the area's chalk streams, while Councillor Richard Rowles went to the Environment Agency following an 'oil leak' from a derelict office building in Andover.