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Tuesday, 23 December 2008 14:31

Anglers Conservation Association News

The ACA held its EGM in Birmingham on Monday 8 December and agreed to change its name to Fish Legal and to join forces with the Angling Trust in England, with a proxy vote of 1,484 in favour to 67 against the change. This resounding vote opens an exciting new chapter for the organisation.

Anglers Conservation AssociationWe have sent new membership forms to all English individual members and club packs to all English clubs, riparian owners, commercial fisheries and trade members are being sent out at the moment. Members in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will continue their membership with Fish Legal. There will be more information available at www.anglingtrust.net and www.fishlegal.net when these web sites go live early in January.

The office will be closed over Christmas, but will reopen on 5 January when we will be happy to answer any questions members might have about the changes.

News from the Legal Department…

The ACA are delighted to have won damages for the Grantham Angling Association following the shocking pollution of the River Witham back in 2002. In the early hours of 3 April, 25,000 litres of chemical fertiliser poured from an agricultural storage tank, made its way into a nearby ditch and flowed downhill into the Witham. The chemical pollution moved slowly along the river, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake, with dead fish obvious for up to 15 km downstream from the point at which the pollution entered the watercourse and raised ammonia levels detected as far as 38km away. Brown trout, chub, roach, grayling and barbel all perished and near to the source of the pollution the chemicals were so concentrated that a dog died within minutes of jumping into the river for a swim. The valve on the tank was allegedly forced open in an act of vandalism and those responsible were never found. The Environment Agency prosecuted the suppliers of the agricultural chemicals, Omex Agricultural, who had supervised the siting of the tank on high ground, in an uninhabited farmyard, with inadequate security. In bringing a civil claim, the ACA won £6,000 in damages for the GAA and also recovered costs.

In an additional case, the ACA defended a spurious claim brought against the Grantham Angling Association by one of its ex-volunteer water bailiffs. The bailiff - now banned for life from the club - claimed for £700 worth of damage to his vehicle after allegedly driving over a loose bit of concrete on the access road to club's fishery. The claim was heard at Grantham County Court on 8th December 2008 but was dismissed on the grounds that the GAA was not liable for the alleged accident.

We are also celebrating a settlement on behalf of the Common Bank Angling Club based in Chorley, Lancashire. On two separate occasions in March 2006 usual suspect United Utilities allowed raw sewage to spew into a feeder stream that led to our member's lake, the Common Bank Lodge. The two spillages were attributed to a failure at a poorly maintained pumping station. Damage to the lake was compounded by a simultaneous diesel spill, allegedly coming from a nearby hospital. Several hundred perch, roach, gudgeon, bream, carp and a few pike were killed - the majority dying slowly from lack of oxygen, with flocks of gulls visiting in the days that followed to pick off the dead fish floating on the surface. Despite this pollution effectively destroying the fishery the club were surprised and disappointed with the Environment Agency's decision only to send a warning letter to the utility company with no further legal action. The ACA took on the case and won £4,000 for the club.

In mid-Wales, the ACA has secured £10,000 for the New Dovey Fisheries Association from Network Rail in recompense for embankment works on the River Dyfi that re-directed the watercourse, leaving precious sea trout pools in an old meander loop shallow and unfishable.

In Alfreton, Derbyshire, we have taken on a new case on behalf of the Excel Hatchery. A pipe owned and controlled by Severn Trent Water burst in September this year polluting our member's fishery, killing a large number of fish and leaving a large amount of deposited sewage in the lake. The club approached the ACA following a lack of response from Severn Trent Water and the Environment Agency. Meanwhile, three months after the burst, the sewage remains in the lake.

In other legal department news, we are pleased to announce that both Guy Linley-Adams, head solicitor here at the ACA and our man in Edinburgh, Bob Younger are both now qualified to practice in Scotland having studied for and passed the Law Society for Scotland's qualifying exams. This will remove the need for the ACA to instruct private agent solicitors in Scotland in order to issue proceedings and will mean that we operate more efficiently and can recover costs more easily following successful settlements north of the border.

Finally, we would like to thank two clubs for very kindly donating funds. Methyr Tydfil Angling Association donated £5,000 and Grantham Angling Association have given £1,000 following the successful conclusion of cases on the Taf Fechan and the Witham respectively. We are extremely grateful for these generous donations that will be ploughed back into our work to protect fisheries and the freshwater environment.

All that remains is to wish all our supporters a very Merry Christmas and a united New Year.

Source: www.a-c-a.org

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Published in Latest UK fishing news
Tuesday, 11 November 2008 08:51

ACA News Update

November 2008

The ACA has secured a settlement for one of its commercial fishery members. After terse negotiations, insurers have paid out £3,500 to compensate Cuttle Mill Fishery in the Midlands for the damage they suffered following pollution with milk over the Christmas period back in 2006. The milk, which spilt from a tanker in a nearby haulage yard, entered the fishery via a feeder stream. The oxygen levels in the receiving water fell dangerously low and, despite the best efforts of the fishery owner to limit the damage using bunding and aerators, large specimen carp and a number of roach were lost. The timing could not have been worse for the fishery which had to close at what is usually one of its busiest times of year with anglers hoping to escape for a peaceful days fishing over the festive season.

In Wales, the ACA continues to fight for damages on behalf of the Islwyn & District Anglers following the devastating chemical pollution of the River Sirhowy, in Gwent, by a private company situated on the banks. The ACA has now issued a claim in court. In May 2007, whilst decommissioning a chemical treatment plant, the company emptied treated effluent onto the floor of the treatment plant building which subsequently found its way into a surface water drain that discharges into the Sirhowy. Despite being successfully prosecuted by Environment Agency Wales for breaches of the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 the company is determined to defend the ACA civil claim in court.

In Leicestershire we are representing the Gopsall Fishing Club after illegal in-river dredging on the River Sence. It is thought that the dredging destroyed spawning grounds and also altered the river width due to the excavation of the river bank which affects the river flow. The Environment Agency decided not to prosecute for the offence, even though those responsible were forewarned that any damage caused as a result of their works could result in criminal prosecution.

In further Scottish news, the ACA has been forced to refer another case to the Scottish Information Commissioner following the Scottish Government's refusal to release fish farm inspection reports relating to rainbow trout farming operations in Loch Lochy. The Scottish Information Commissioner will decide whether the Scottish Government is justified in withholding dive reports, mortality reports, grid plans and a containment audit report that relates to recent escapes of rainbow trout into the loch. The ACA represents the Lochaber District Salmon Fishery Board in this matter after escapes of farmed fish into the Lochy system from the floating cage farm operated by Kames Fish Farming Ltd.

Other news...

The ACA will be holding an EGM on Monday 8 December in Birmingham to vote on a resolution for the ACA to take part in the unification of angling and conservation organisations. There is much more information about these plans in the autumn update which will be arrive with all members this week and on the temporary web site for the Angling Trust: www.anglingunity.co.uk

If you can't make the EGM, please complete the proxy voting form included with the mailout in the postage paid envelope. You could send back your raffle books at the same time...

Thames21, a charity working in the London area, is organising a free training day for anyone wanting to organise river clean-ups at Fishmongers' Hall on Monday 24 November. Please go to www.thames21.org.uk for more information.

The Artist Richard Bramble is donating 10% of profits to the ACA from members' orders of his new Brown or Rainbow Trout porcelain 30cm dinner plates at £35 each, which are from a set of Trout and Grayling designs available on plates, mats, boards and clocks by the artist. When ordering, either by telephone 01935 815236 or online at www.richardbramble.co.uk Just mention 'ACA' for the donation to go through.

Finally, Hugh Miles is hosting a 'sort of world premiere' in Dorset of his new series of films "Catching the Impossible", with stars Bernard Cribbins and Martin Bowler present, but with red maggots instead of the red carpet. All proceeds go to the ACA and the Wimborne Angling Club. The films will be screened on Tuesday 25 November and Tuesday 2 December at the Barrington Theatre in the centre of Ferndown, near Bournemouth. Tickets are just £5 from: Bob Simmons, 1 Cuthburga Rd. Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 1LH Tel: 01202 889283 Please make cheques payable to Wild Wise Ltd. and enclose an SA

Source: Anglers Conservation Association

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UK Fisherman would be delighted to hear from you if you would like to comment on any of our news items. To do so, use the comment box below.

Alternatively if you would like to submit a news item of your own, please visit the CONTACT page.
Published in Latest UK fishing news

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