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Sunday, 29 March 2009 11:34

Would you swim in your local river?

More than half (52 per cent) the people questioned would not swim in their local river because they think it is too polluted. That was the shocking finding from a survey carried out for the Blueprint for Water [1], a coalition of leading conservation groups.

Angling TrustThe survey, carried out by ComRes [2], also found 97 per cent of people in England recognise that rivers, ponds, streams and lakes are a vital part of the countryside and 94 per cent of people often visit a stream, river or lake to relax or for leisure, but three-quarters feel that the water environment is at risk.

Helen Meech, Senior External Affairs Officer at The National Trust, said: “2009 is a big year for water with the prospect of new legislation and the price review for the water industry. There is a real need for Government to act now and provide clear leadership on this issue that matters so much to so many people.”

When asked, more that eight out of ten people agreed that the Government should be doing more to protect English lakes, streams, rivers and ponds, with pollution, over use of water, drought and climate change identified as some of the key threats.

Over the last two years the Blueprint for Water coalition has been urging the Government to take action to change the way we manage our water.

The coalition wants a country where we are less wasteful of our water; where we keep our rivers flowing, clean and healthy and our wetlands wet; where the water we use is priced fairly and polluters are made to pay; where our waste is properly treated and not washed straight into waterways. In 2006, coalition members handed Ministers a 10-step plan for improving the water environment for people and wildlife by 2015.

The Blueprint for Water will publish their third document ‘2009 the time to act’ to coincide with World Water Day tomorrow (22 March). This publication sets out water priorities for 2009 and states that although significant progress has been made in some areas of water policy, there has been little progress in others.

Rob Cunningham, Head of Water Policy at RSPB said: “For too long we’ve taken water for granted as a nation. The results of this poll clearly demonstrate that clean good quality water really does matter to people, and that urgent action is needed to protect this most precious natural resource.”

The coalition is calling upon the Government to make the most of the new legislation on floods and water expected this spring, as well as key decisions on water company investment and implementation of the Water Framework Directive, to protect water for the benefit of both people and wildlife across the UK.

Jacob Tompkins, Director of Waterwise said: “The Government seized the initiative with its Future Water strategy last year. Now we need to deliver on its principles. We need to see water efficiency on a vast scale, with tens of thousands of homes retrofitted at a time and full metering so homes pay for the amount of water they actually use. These measures will also make less water go further, as we cope with the impacts of climate change.”

Source: Angling Trust

Published in Latest UK fishing news
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
Saturday, 27 September 2008 12:50

River Lea at Fields Lock

WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH: Submitted by Sue Mcdermid

Uk Fisherman was recently contacted by a justifiably disgruntled angler who raises an issue that all anglers should take note of.

Sue Mcdermid and her partner decided to spend a day fishing Fields lock on the River Lea in Hertfordshire. Their experience was far from pleasurable.

Sue explains:
"My partner and I fished at Fields lock on the River Lea yesterday (7.8.06) and we were appalled by the rubbish strewn about amongst the trees and over the paths near the river. The bins had obviously not been emptied in months and therefore rubbish placed by the bins was being blown all over the place. This is totally unnecessary and if fishermen can be bothered to clear up after themselves then the surroundings should be cleared too to make it a nice environment to fish in."

"This is the worst site we have ever been to in order to enjoy a day's fishing - it was such a shame as we had travelled from Kent and was our first time there."

This raises a general issue concerning care for the environment that we all love to fish in. All anglers have a responsibility to ensure that the venue they fish in is left free of rubbish when they leave. If bins are full to overflowing, then take your rubbish home with you. Fishery owners also have a responsibility to maintain their venues and keep them rubbish free. I don't know who has responsibility for maintaining this stretch of the River Lea. If anyone knows, please let UK Fisherman know.

Edited By Paul Orford
Shame you both had such a disappointing days fishing Sue, but thanks for bringing the matter to our attention.

Submit an Article: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of the fishing articles or if you would like to submit an article of your own.

To do so, please visit the CONTACT page.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A LICENCE BEFORE HEADING TO THE RIVER:

Submitted by Adrian Westwood at The Environment Agency

Anglers eagerly anticipating the opening of the coarse fishing season on June 16 should make sure they have a valid rod licence before heading for the river.

The reminder comes as 270 anglers were prosecuted by the Environment Agency in May, resulting in more than £38,000 in fines and costs. In addition three anglers received cautions.

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