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Thousands of fish have been killed in a pollution incident on the tidal Thames in West London after nearly half a million tonnes of sewage poured into the river over the weekend. Anglers were out on Monday evening trying to rescue dying fish stranded on the river’s beaches. The fish included roach, dace, bream, eels, perch, pike, sea bass and flounder. The tidal Thames is an important coarse fishery as well as being a vital nursery area for marine fish species for the whole of the South East of England.

pollution incident on the tidal Thames in West LondonHeavy rain over the weekend led to London’s sewerage system overflowing into the river. Because the spill followed a long dry spell, the sewage was particularly noxious. More than 250,000 tonnes of storm sewage entered the river from combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and at least 200,000 tonnes from the Mogden Sewage Treatment Works in Isleworth, which is currently being upgraded.

The Environment Agency is monitoring oxygen levels in the river and Thames Water has dosed the polluted water with hydrogen peroxide to add oxygen to the water. The company’s oxygenation vessels have also been deployed to the area.

Anglers and environmental campaigners have been calling for decades for improvements to the capital’s sewerage network because of a series of similar incidents in recent years (notably in 2004 and 2009). Plans are now at last in place for a new ‘Super Sewer’ under the Thames which would prevent these spills happening, but completion of these works is still years away and could be threatened if funds are not made available or planning authorities stand in the way.

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said:

“It is heartbreaking to see so many young fish being repeatedly poisoned in sewage. We hope that incidents such as this will convince policy makers and London local authorities of the need for the Thames Tunnels scheme, which is vital for the future of the capital’s river.”

Angling Trust fishing newsThames Anglers’ Conservancy Chairman James Page said:

“Our rapid response crew were down on the beach as soon as this happened but they felt helpless to save the countless fish they could see gasping in the water’s edge.  Anglers and water bill payers alike need to see action to stop this happening in the future.”

Source: Angling Trust Fishing News



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Published in Latest UK fishing news

Water companies have always been reluctant to supply anglers with information about pollution – but a Tribunal which deals with appeals on information issues has now concluded that water and sewage companies in England and Wales are not covered by laws on freedom of information.

Angling Trust fishing newsThis is a huge blow to the Angling Trust’s campaigns and legal action to make water companies accountable for the damage they cause routinely to fisheries up and down the country.

The decision means that water companies will not be compelled to reveal when, where and how often they pollute our rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Instead anglers will have to rely on the good-will of these profit-driven utilities to expose their activities voluntarily.

The decision comes at a time when the Environment Agency (EA) is depending on the water companies to monitor their own discharges into streams, lakes, rivers and coastal waters through the new policy of ‘Operator Self Monitoring’. This means that even the Government’s regulator may not know much about what these companies are getting up to. This particularly concerns the Angling Trust’s legal arm, Fish Legal, as its lawyers currently need access to this information to fight numerous legal cases arising from sewage pollution incidents on behalf of Fish Legal members which the EA has not properly investigated.

The Tribunal’s decision agreed with the view of the Information Commissioner that the water companies are not “public authorities” for the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs). Several organisations had appealed the decision of the Information Commissioner, including Fish Legal, which in 2009 had asked for data from United Utilities and Yorkshire Water on the performance of their combined sewage overflows (CSOs) which allow faeces, urine and washing detergents to pass untreated into fisheries when treatment works and sewers are overwhelmed by rain. The water companies argued that they were not covered by the EIRs as they regarded themselves as commercial companies only. Fish Legal’s case was then put on hold pending the outcome of a lead case brought by SmartSource to settle the legal issues – which were then decided in the water companies’ favour. Fish Legal is now looking at its legal options. Its lawyers have already written to the Aarhus Compliance Committee in Geneva and to DEFRA urging them to intervene following the ruling and to direct the Information Commissioner to agree that water companies are covered by the provisions of the international Aarhus Convention on Access to Environmental information, to which the UK is a signatory.

Explaining the significance of the ruling, Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, said:

“Our lawyers have been trying to force several of the water companies to reveal just how much sewage they spew into rivers and coastal waters through combined sewage overflows (CSOs), which are used when the sewers get overloaded.  I think we anglers – and everyone else with an interest in clean water – need to ask why these companies are so desperate to keep their dirty secrets hidden away from public scrutiny.  Given the scale of their activities, which affect everyone who uses the water environment and drinks from a tap, I think the public should have the right to freedom of information about what they get up to.  Thanks to the support of our members, we will continue to fight for this right.”






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Published in Latest UK fishing news

The Angling Trust’s legal arm – Fish Legal – has welcomed the recent order from the Information Commissioner for the Environment Agency (EA) to release pollution records and monitoring data for the River Test. The EA had repeatedly refused to provide the information on the grounds that supplying it would be ‘manifestly unreasonable’.

Angling Trust fishing newsFish Legal – whose lawyers provide free legal support to more than 900 member clubs, riparian owners and syndicates throughout the UK – regularly asks the EA for its monitoring data, fisheries records and details of investigations into pollution incidents using the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
In the 2008 season, stretches of the river Test became discoloured. Losing confidence in the EA’s investigation into the potential sources of the pollution, members called on Fish Legal for help.

Fish Legal then asked the EA for reports and data in order to gain a better understanding of the threats facing this section of one of the most well-known chalk streams for fishing in the UK, if not the world.

The EA’s web site indicates that this information should have been readily available:
“The Environment Agency is an open and transparent organisation. We have always recognised the vital role that access to information plays in helping us achieve our goals. Such access is essential to the credibility of our regulatory functions. As we rely on your power and influence to help us achieve sustained environmental improvements, we will ensure that you have up-to-date environmental information available. We therefore encourage you to seek information from us.”


In any case, a public authority would be obliged to provide environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations. However, there are certain ‘exemptions’ which an authority can use to avoid its statutory obligation to release documents. The EA refused to provide the information as it argued it would take too much time and place a ‘manifestly unreasonable’ burden on their employees. The EA also said that a cost of up to £2,000 would be incurred when responding, but this charge was soon retracted when challenged.
Believing that the EA was cynically using exemptions under the Regulations to avoid scrutiny of their work, and fearing that the EA could use the same arguments in the future, Fish Legal referred the refusal to the Information Commissioner’s Office in June 2009.

In its formal Decision Notice, the Information Commissioner agreed with Fish Legal that the EA had behaved unlawfully.

The Commission‘s damning Decision:
• Referring to the claim by the EA that it would take between 60 and 90 hours to respond to the request, the Information Commissioner found that the Agency had “failed to provide convincing evidence that its estimates are reliable or reasonable under the circumstances”.
• For example, records which the EA had claimed would take 10 minutes each to read through would, in the Information Commissioner’s view, take “at most 1 minute to read through, and in some cases only seconds”. The estimate given by the EA, that simply extracting the information would consume 26 hours of Agency staff time, was, in fact, a gross exaggeration.
• Commenting on arguments put forward by the EA that field staff would have to be taken away from their normal duties to search for the information, the Commissioner found no evidence for such a claim. Furthermore, the Commissioner felt that with a staff of over 13,000 the EA was “best placed to deal with requests of this size”.
• The Commissioner found that the volume and complexity of a single request was not an applicable ground on its own to apply the “manifestly unreasonable” exemption, as there were already provisions allowing an extension of time to respond to large and complicated requests. This undermined the entire basis for the EA’s arguments for avoiding disclosure, notwithstanding its failure to assess the time for responding accurately.
• The Commissioner considered that attempts by an angling club to access existing monitoring and fisheries data in order to take “proactive steps to ascertain risks and dangers to the river prior to further incidents occurring” was “an example of the environmental information regulations being used to ‘best effect’”. The Commissioner stressed that the regulations were provided precisely to allow members of the public to have a say in how well their environment was being protected.
• The Information Commissioner highlighted the importance of the River Test not only for fishermen but also for the many businesses – including hotels, fishing guides, restaurants and associated services – which rely on its reputation to attract visiting anglers.

Justin Neal, Head Solicitor at Fish Legal, said:
“We were amazed at the EA’s use of the ‘manifestly unreasonable’ exemption, which is usually reserved for the vexatious litigant or serial complainer, not the legal arm of the national representative and governing body for angling. Due to the importance of accessing environmental information for our work on behalf of our members, we pushed for a formal Decision Notice to ensure that this exemption could not be misused by other regional EA teams in the future.”

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, said:
“With the support of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, angling clubs and riparian owners play a vital role reporting, investigating and tackling pollution problems at a local level, to protect the rivers they treasure. These roles look set to be formalised as part of the Government’s Big Society agenda and the Environment Agency’s unwarranted secrecy was standing in the way of this. We are pleased that the Commissioner has highlighted the importance of allowing angling clubs and riparian owners access to monitoring data so that they can play their part in improving our rivers for fish and other wildlife. We look forward to receiving promptly the information we requested nearly a year and a half ago which will allow us to understand better some of the potential threats facing the River Test.”






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Published in Latest UK fishing news

After a long campaign, Fish Legal has welcomed the Environment Agency's announcement that anglers will be involved before deals are done with polluters.

Fish Legal Angling NewsFish Legal believes that "Enforcement Undertakings" (EUs) - one of a raft of measures introduced under the Environmental Civil Sanctions Order 2010 - could lead to secretive agreements with polluters without angler involvement where rivers have been damaged by pollution.
"Civil Sanctions" provide an alternative to prosecution. Instead of paying a fine to the Treasury, polluters can put right the damage which they have caused - for instance - by restocking.

Most anglers would be supportive of such measures if they were drafted properly in the legislation by DEFRA and implemented fairly. However, Fish Legal has argued that the way EUs are described in the legislation could lead to agreements between polluters and regulators reached behind closed doors - without full angler involvement or publicity.

The Environment Agency announced at the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association conference on 27th June 2010 that it had now taken on-board the concerns of Fish Legal .

It has been confirmed that the Agency will require evidence from the polluter that it has consulted third parties affected by pollution, including angling clubs, before signing-off an undertaking by issuing a Certificate of Completion. It will also be made clear to polluters that the sanctions are not an alternative to civil claims made by those affected by environmental damage. Importantly, the content of all EUs will be actively published and the sanction will be subject to the Freedom of Information legislation.

"After over a year of letters and consultations, we felt as though we were up against a relentless DEFRA legislative steam-train." said Justin Neal, Head Solicitor at Fish Legal.

"However, the Agency now appears to have understood our well-founded objections at the way in which Enforcement Undertakings might be implemented. At first, DEFRA completely ignored our warnings and pushed on without making some very simple amendments to the Environmental Civil Sanctions Order. We then pressed the Agency to produce guidance on implementation to recognise our concerns. It appears that the Agency now agrees with us in confirming that it will require full participation of third parties which have been affected by pollutions - including affected angling interests.This is not just a positive outcome for angling but also for the members of the public who want to keep all deals with polluters out in the open and available for scrutiny."






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Published in Latest UK fishing news

Anglers have reacted with dismay and anger to the news that thousands of fish in the River Trent have been killed by what is reported to be a mix of cyanide and raw sewage. The river is very popular with anglers and was the venue for this year’s Angling Trust 2nd division national coarse angling championship, which saw hundreds of anglers gather from all over the country to compete for the coveted trophy.

Angling Trust Fishing NewsAngling clubs and individuals have invested huge amounts of money and volunteer time over several generations in improving the River Trent, both through physical works to improve habitats and by campaigning for improvement of water quality. This spill could reverse years of hard work to improve the river and its tributaries.

The news comes just two weeks after the Angling Trust launched a specific campaign, in partnership with WWF and the HSBC Climate Partnership, to address surface water run-off from Birmingham causing pollution downstream. There were significant fish kills earlier this year on the River Tame, a tributary of the Trent, and on the main river itself after thunderstorms over the city flushed pollutants into the river.

The Angling Trust’s Environmental Campaigns Manager Mark Owen will be travelling the length of the affected stretch of the river this morning to make an initial assessment of the damage to fish and other wildlife. He will be working closely with the Environment Agency to identify the polluter as soon as possible.

Fish Legal, which acts as the legal arm of the Angling Trust in England, will be investigating the potential for taking a civil claim for compensation on behalf of its member angling clubs and riparian owners on the river. This claim would complement any criminal prosecution by the Environment Agency in punishing whoever is found to be responsible for this pollution.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal said: “This incident demonstrates yet again the need for business to take the utmost care in handling noxious chemicals. Drains should never be used as a means of disposing of waste chemicals. We will be pressing for a full investigation of this tragedy and will do everything we can to make the polluters pay for the damage they have done to our members’ interests on the river.”

Mark Owen, Environmental Campaigns Manager at the Angling Trust said: “Once more the River Trent has suffered a severe pollution incident which has killed thousands of fish. We will continue to campaign for as long as it takes for the systems to be put in place to prevent these incidents being repeated.”

The Angling Trust is warning all anglers to keep clear of the river and not to handle any dead fish or take any samples of water.

For further information, please contact Mark Lloyd on 07973 468198 or Mark Owen on 07545 733245.

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Published in Latest UK fishing news

In response to Tuesday’s report from the Environment Agency (EA) regarding the ecological status of water bodies in England and Wales, WWF and the Angling Trust have launched a joint campaign to restore and conserve a number of rivers in the UK that are under threat from pollution, over-abstraction and habitat damage.

Angling Trust Fishing NewsAs part of the HSBC Climate Partnership, WWF and the Angling Trust will implement a total of eight campaigns in as many months that call for clear and immediate action on specific local problems to restore and conserve the biodiversity and fisheries of these rivers. These local campaigns will also be used as case studies nationally to highlight the widespread nature of threats to our rivers.

The first of these campaigns will focus on the River Tame and middle Trent catchment. Parts of the Trent have been identified as being amongst the lowest quality rivers in Europe, according to the EA report. The campaign was launched on Tuesday, with coverage on BBC Breakfast News: Click here to watch the interview in full

The Angling Trust had already begun research on this river after identifying that urban run off was a key factor in its degradation. Then in June 2009, more than 1000 fish were killed as a result of increased urban run off following some severe storms over Birmingham.  With climate change scenarios predicting a more unstable weather pattern, which will see an increase in storms and flooding, it is essential for the security of the River Trent, its wildlife, the local communities and the angling clubs that the issue of urban runoff is addressed by the local councils immediately.

Mark Owen, Environmental Campaigns Manager at the Angling Trust, who will be leading on these campaigns, said: “Our focus for this catchment is to ensure that we have an effective Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) in place to reduce the risk of urban run off in the face of a changing and unstable climate. Pollution from urban run-off, such as Birmingham, is a major problem in many English rivers. However, if pollution is properly managed, then we can create attractive and useful havens for wildlife and angling which will reduce the speed and quantity of run-off from the vast paved areas in urban areas.”

The Angling Trust and WWF will focus on bringing together the two councils which suffer the brunt of the pollution, Tamworth and Burton, with Birmingham City Council to develop solutions to the issue, focusing on an improved SUDs policy in Birmingham. This plan will also need to take into account the potential increases in population, due to the planned development of half a million more homes by 2026 in the region, which will add additional urban run-off and sewage. Much can be achieved by improving the design of new developments to allow surface water to soak away and be stored in small scale storage areas.

WWF’s Policy and Programme Manager for Freshwater, Rose Timlett, commented on the EA report; “The confirmation that over 74% of our rivers currently fall below the ‘good ecological status’ line, is a wake-up call to the government that the time to act is now. These rivers are our water supply and they are the lifeblood for an abundance of wildlife. Anglers are the eyes and ears of our waterways and the Angling Trust’s involvement in the protection of UK Rivers is therefore imperative to securing a healthy future for them”.

The joint partnership between the Angling Trust and WWF, supported by HSBC, will campaign to get local councils, the government, the Environment Agency and farmers to make the necessary changes to secure the health of our waterways.

The eight campaigns will focus on keys issues such as over abstraction, urban and agricultural diffuse pollution, barriers to fish migration and hydropower installations.
Anglers can get involved by adopting a river and writing a letter to their MPs from the Our Rivers website (www.ourrivers.org) encouraging the Environment Agency to show much greater ambition in the River Basin Management Plans. There will also be various community events organised by local angling groups for local residents and anglers to get hands on in the conservation of their local rivers such as clean-up days.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: “the Angling Trust will be writing to all its member clubs and riparian owners asking for suitable candidate campaigns. Anglers have, for generations, done more than any other group to campaign for and implement improvements to our rivers. We know what the problems are and our great numbers can help persuade politicians that action should be taken to address them. By teaming up with the largest environmental charities in the country, we have been able to broaden the base of support for implementing these solutions.”


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Published in Latest UK fishing news
Friday, 18 September 2009 00:00

River Grom pollution case settled

Fish Legal is delighted to have secured a £17,500 settlement for its member club, the Royal Tunbridge Wells Angling Society, as a result of a civil claim mounted on behalf of the anglers following the pollution of the River Grom in June 2006.

Fish Legal Fishing NewsA series of equipment failures at the Tunbridge Wells sewage treatment works saw partially treated sewage pumped into the Grom over a 6 day period with a devastating effect on the river and its ecology. There was an extensive fish kill during the incident and water quality on the upper Medway was seriously affected for approximately 14km downstream of the confluence with the Grom.

Electro-fishing surveys carried out by the Environment Agency post pollution in July 2006 returned just 1 immature chub on the Grom. A year later, sampling carried out in August 2007 on the Medway upstream and downstream of the confluence with the Grom found average fish species richness for a river of type upstream, but severely impoverished populations downstream of the confluence, with a complete absence of grayling, trout and chub and only 1/7th of the expected fishery biomass.

The first problems with the sewage treatment process at the works began on the 17th June 2006. Southern Water however failed to inform the Environment Agency that the works were malfunctioning and the situation only came to the attention of the Agency on the 18th June when a member of the public phoned through reports of dead fish and pungent, cloudy waters on the Grom. The time delay meant that Agency staff were unable to respond swiftly with aeration equipment to boost oxygen levels in the river and avoid the worst effects of the pollution.

The damage of the river was compounded when back-up equipment brought in by Southern Water to help rectify the situation also broke down and it was not until 22nd June that the treatment works to be returned to full operation
Fish Legal solicitor, Guy Linley-Adams, explained:

“The Grom, which is a relatively small tributary of the River Medway, was still recovering after a similar, serious pollution incident from the Tunbridge Wells works in 1989. We were particularly disappointed that Southern Water did not respond quickly and appropriately to mitigate the environmental impact of the 2006 event. We have however been very encouraged by Southern Water’s willingness to engage with Fish Legal, to recognise the damage caused to our member club’s fishery downstream of their works and more generally, to recognise the presence of angling clubs across the Southern Water region.”

He added:

“Since the incident, Southern Water has spent in excess of £2 million on improvements at the sewage works concerned and they have extended an open invitation to all members of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Angling Society to visit the newly refurbished works to see for themselves the investment that has gone into improving the quality of discharges into the club’s waters.”

Southern Water and Fish Legal together are looking to compile a list of all angling clubs downstream of sewage works in Southern Water's area so they can be contacted immediately in the event of any problems at any of Southern Water's sites.

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Published in Latest UK fishing news

Fish Legal has sent formal letters of claim on behalf of two of its member clubs – the Ribblesdale Angling Association and the Mid-Ribble Angling Society – after both clubs had their fishing wiped out by mud pouring into the River Ribble when a gas pipeline was laid across the river and its tributaries between June 2006 and August 2007.

Fish LegalEntrepose – the contractors for National Grid - left large areas of earth next to the river exposed during the works and failed to put in place a comprehensive and effective system of settlement lagoons and silt traps to protect the watercourse from sediment-laden run-off. Further slugs of sediment flowed downstream when trenches were excavated in the river channel itself.

The claim made by Fish Legal on behalf of the anglers follows the prosecution and conviction of Entrepose by the Environment Agency for 18 separate pollution offences under Section 85 of the Water Resources Act 1991. The company also asked for another 18 other offences to be taken into consideration.

National Grid won the lucrative contract to lay the gas pipeline from Panal, near Harrogate in North Yorkshire to Nether Kellet near Carnforth in Lancashire. Entrepose was contracted to undertake the £55million project on their behalf.

John Whitham of the Mid-Ribble Angling Society and the Ribble Fisheries Consultative Association said,

“The silt pollution at the height of the salmon season made the river unfishable. Some club members had taken time off work and travelled from as far afield as London - and, in one case, America - to find that the river was so dirty that the fishing they had planned and looked forward to for many months was ruined.”

He added:

“We are aware that such developments are probably necessary but the companies contracted to do the work must be held responsible for all their sub-contractors ensuring that there is no damage to the environment or the assets of others. Not only does such neglect affect anglers but also the local tourism industry and many others associated with the sport of angling.”

Fred Higham of the Ribblesdale Angling Association was angered by the lack of care taken by Enrepose:

“from the outset, and at our first site meeting with the Entrepose Management Team, we highlighted our concerns at the possible siltation effects on the river. When I said my concern was for the river, their reply was, “ours is for the pipeline.” They seemed to be unaware of the river habitat’s sensitivities or to even care about the potential damage they could and did do, not only to our fishing, but also the environment.”

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of Fish Legal and the Angling Trust, said:

“Any company carrying out work of this scale should put in place stringent measures to prevent soil being washed into streams. Entrepose seem to have been surprised by the fact that it rained very heavily in the North West of England. Their mismanagement of this huge project led to significant damage to fish spawning and invertebrate habitat as well as ruining our members’ fishing. We hope that the company will agree to settle these claims for the loss of amenity promptly and without dispute.”


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Published in Latest UK fishing news
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, 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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