More than 400 cases of environmental pollution were confirmed to have happened in the West Midlands last year.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed a string of incidents including water pollution, fires, fly-tipping and even radioactive and nuclear contamination.

In total there were 405 confirmed reports of environmental pollution in our region in 2017/18, down from 476 in 2016/17.

A pollution incident occurs when, following a malicious act or loss of control, harmful substances are released into water, air or land and cause significant harm to the environment.

They can affect people and communities - for example, a large fire can cause poor air quality or an oil spill at sea can devastate marine life.

The data, obtained from the Environment Agency, shows the most common type of incident in the West Midlands was water pollution.

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That includes poisonous and polluting material or waste being dumped into rivers, lakes and ponds.

There were 162 incidents of water pollution in 2017/18, down from from 206 in 2016/17.

Fires were the second most common type of incident with 122 cases, including 14 of burning waste, against 139 the previous year (Including 20 case of waste burnt).

There were nine incidents of noise pollution, up from two in 2016/17.

Some 35 illegal waste sites were confirmed by the agency, as well as 10 cases of fly-tipping.

There were also 24 incidents of oil and chemical spills and one case of radioactive and nuclear contamination.

Exhaust. File pic. Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

The Environment Agency confirmed the most cases in Birmingham (141), followed by Dudley (64), Sandwell (51), Solihull (45), Wolverhampton (39),Walsall (33) and Coventry (32).

The Environment Agency recorded 14,982 pollution incidents across England in 2017/18.

This is a decrease compared to 2016/17, when there were 15,331.

The data only includes incidents which were confirmed by the agency - meaning others were reported but those reports could not be validated.

The Environment Agency spends about £12 million a year in time and materials responding to pollution incidents to reduce harm.

Water pollution was the most common type of incident nationwide in 2016/17, with 7,395 confirmed cases. There were 2,742 fires, including 697 where waste was burnt.

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There were 1,006 illegal waste sites found by the agency, 801 oil and chemicals spills, and 49 cases involving radioactive and nuclear contamination.

People can report a suspected environment incident by calling the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or can anonymously report a waste crime to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.