The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and East Lothian Council are continuing to work together to respond to Friday’s pollution incident in the River Esk at Musselburgh.

The specialist contractor, brought in by the council to support clean-up work, has continued to renew booms in the watercourse which are designed to contain contamination and protect the natural environment. A tanker is being deployed on Thursday to extract as much of this material as possible from the watercourse.

While this action is being taken, there is likely to be some residual material evident in the water/downstream. It may take time to dissipate with some water discolouration and odour still being evident. However, this has reduced as the week has progressed.

Council and SEPA officers have continued to be in the area monitoring the impact and investigations into the incident are continuing.

Close monitoring of wildlife on the river continues, with any distressed birds being taken into care by the Scottish SPCA as space at their National Wildlife Rescue Centre becomes available.

Given the current national risk of avian influenza (bird flu), it is requested that the public do not touch or handle any birds but instead report these to the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.

SEPA is unable to comment further at this stage given the matter is a live investigation and due to the potential for enforcement or criminal action.

SEPA has asked for anyone with information to contact its 24 Hour Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 7060, via or to contact CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

This pollution incident has been very concerning for local communities. We are very grateful to local people for their support and understanding during this incident.

Published: Wednesday, 19th January 2022