Lower River Lee (Lea) Environmental Management Incident Notifications

Closed 7 Oct 2019

Opened 27 Mar 2019


You can now sign up to receive email notifications of significant and major environmental incidents in your area of the Lower River Lee (see map below). This can be for more than one area of interest, just fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

We will aim to issue key messages on the first working day of our response to significant and major environmental incidents. We will then issue periodic updates of our progress responding to the incident.

When you receive one of our key messages, please forward on to other members of your group, community and/or partner organisations to help us inform as much of the community as possible. We will also release similar information via our Twitter account @EnvAgencySE.

Your browser does not support inline PDF viewing.Please download the PDF.

If you're having trouble viewing the map above, you can download it from 'related documents' at the bottom of this page.

Please note that this is a trial service. If this does not cover your area or local river you can see updates we share on twitter @EnvAgencySE or contact us by:

Calling us on:
03708 506 506 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm)

Emailing us at:

Writing to us at:
National Customer Contact Centre, PO Box 544, Rotherham, S60 1BY, United Kingdom

Our incident response in the Upper Lee Catchment

Orange substance on the River Lee, Luton

On the morning of Wednesday 27 March 2019 a member of the public notified us of an orange substance entering the River Lee from a surface water outfall in Luton. Our Environment Officers worked in partnership with Thames Water to trace the source of the pollution and minimise environmental risk through containment and remediation. We have conducted a chemical analysis of the river water and we believe the substance to be used cooking oil.

A combination of natural obstructions in the channel and our deployment of booms across the river enabled the pollution to be contained within a 600m stretch of river. We deployed both a tanker and specialised skimming equipment to clear the substance as it collected around the booms.

We left the booms in place over the following week to allow ourselves and Thames Water to complete the clean-up. Thames Water have also cleaned the drainage network to prevent any further pollution from entering the river. We are happy to report that we have not witnessed any distressed fish or wildlife as a result of this pollution incident.

Our Environment Officers have successfully identified the source of the pollution and will carry out further investigations and appropriate enforcement action.

Orange substance on the River Lee, Luton

Report an environmental incident

Call the Environment Agency incident hotline to report:

  • damage or danger to the natural environment
  • pollution to water or land
  • poaching or illegal fishing
  • dead fish or fish gasping for air
  • main rivers blocked by a vehicle or fallen tree causing risk of flooding
  • flooding from any river, stream, canal, natural spring or the sea
  • incidents at Environment Agency-regulated waste sites
  • illegal removals from watercourses
  • unusual changes in river flow
  • collapsed or badly damaged river or canal banks

There’s a different way to make a complaint about the Environment Agency.

Incident hotline
Telephone: 0800 80 70 60
24-hour service
Find out about call charges

To find out more about reporting waste crime or what you should report to local councils and utility companies take a look out our website here: https://www.gov.uk/report-an-environmental-incident


  • Anyone from any background


  • Fishing and boating
  • Water resources
  • Water quality
  • Habitats and wildlife