SIR: I feel compelled to write following last week’s announcement that the Bakkavor salad washing plant will be closing (Chronicle, August 6 and 13). Although job losses are always regretful, the long disputed environmental concerns should not be in any way overlooked.

I have been a passionate campaigner for our world renowned chalk streams for over 40 years. The River Itchen is often heralded as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ the best of the best. For the last two decades there has been considerable concern about the various discharges emulating from the Bakkavor factory. The recent revelations exposed by the Salmon and Trout Conservation Trust just highlight one of many issues that have been raised with regard to the factory’s detrimental impact on the surrounding environment. Allowing regulated discharges of known toxic chemicals, particularly pesticides at whatever concentrations is not acceptable to the ongoing health of the river. It also should be questioned by us the customer as to why the big supermarket chains that Bakkavor supply allow such practice. The model of bringing vast amounts of imported perishable salad crops from all over Europe to be then washed in the headwaters of a world famous chalk river does not make any economic sense and is certainly not environmentally sustainable for the long term.

These are just the sort of practices that can and must be really sorted post Covid-19. There really is a massive opportunity and will for the production of well produced home food , giving our local farmers a more level playing field, reducing our carbon footprint and moving towards a more sustainable future.

Graham Roberts,

Retired environmentalist,

Ware Lane,

Lyme Regis,