Fears of a back-room deal have mounted as Severn Trent Water and British Waterways have engaged in negotiations over the sewage pollution of the Shropshire Union and Staffordshire & Worcestershire canals which killed thousands of fish in April 2009

Fish Legal Fishing NewsSeveral tonnes of sewage poured from the Barnhurst Sewage Treatment Works, wiping out what is so far reported to be tens of thousands of fish along a 30 mile stretch of canal, part of which is leased to Bilston Angling Club and Wolverhampton Angling Association, both of which are members of Fish Legal and the Angling Trust.

The pollution is thought to have wiped out entire generations of different species and the effects will be felt for many years to come.
The Sewage Treatment Works, owned by Severn Trent Water, was thought to have been affected by a chemical which knocked out the bacteria which clean the sewage before it is released into the canal.

It is not yet clear who will ultimately be held responsible for the damage, because the Environment Agency (EA) is still investigating the incident well over a year after it occurred. Anglers are rightly concerned at this delay and the EA has not yet indicated when it will be able to release the details.

British Waterways has admitted to discussions with Severn Trent Water and anglers fear they are being frozen-out of the negotiations due to previous attempts to engage both organisations having been rebuffed.

Fears have been raised that the current stonewalling will lead to an unsatisfactory result for local fishing clubs which lease the waters from British Waterways, and who have found that the quality of fishing has been severely diminished since the pollution.

William Rundle, Fish Legal Solicitor, said, “Whilst it is understandable that the EA cannot provide us with full details because their investigation is ongoing, the delay and lack of consultation are very frustrating. It is difficult to understand how they could have made so little progress over such a long time, or how they can properly understand the impact of the pollution without discussing it with those who have been directly affected.”

“Of much greater concern is the total disregard Severn Trent Water is showing towards the victims of the pollution, which was discharged from their sewage treatment works. Their initial concern has not been followed up with any creditable action or engagement. We have had no communication from them since last year.”

“It is a great shame that despite being publicly funded, British Waterways does not appear to act in the best interests of the public. The lack of transparency to their discussions with Severn Trent over the pollution is worrying. Little progress has been made by an organisation set up to care for our rivers and canals, and no attempt has been made to include or consult those anglers who have been affected, and who know these areas best. British Waterways knows Fish Legal represents some of the clubs affected. We should be included in these discussions.”

John Hall of Bilston Angling Club added, “local canal anglers are absolutely disgusted with how this has been dealt with and match angling has been completely disrupted. British Waterways has previously refused to speak to us about the pollution”

Peter Gough of Wolverhampton Angling Association is similarly frustrated: “British Waterways and Severn Trent seem to have come to some sort of agreement which we have not been involved with. Some promised restocking was not done, and I am not confident that it will now go ahead at all.”

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Published in Latest UK fishing news
Saturday, 14 March 2009 19:42

Fight for Fishing at Foremark

The Angling Trust today launched an online petition to reverse a decision by Severn Trent Water which would see angling banned from the dam wall and East bank of Foremark Reservoir in Derbyshire.

Angling TrustSevern Trent Water has cited various reasons for the closure of more than two thirds of the reservoir to anglers, who have been fishing there for nearly 30 years. Their main concern seems to be health and safety, with concerns that anglers will hook passers-by or that they might fall over on the dam. There have been only 3 accidents in 29 years, all of them minor and none involving anglers hooking members of the public. They have even suggested that anglers fishing on the dam might affect its structural integrity.

The Trust is calling on all anglers to stand up and be counted to stop this nonsense. Signing the petition online takes less than one minute at

Source: Angling Trust

Published in Latest UK fishing news

Anglers who have fished Foremark Reservoir in Derbyshire for a generation held a protest outside Severn Trent Water’s Headquarters today after the water company refused to back down on its controversial plans to close two thirds of the reservoir to angling due to concerns about health and safety of the public, the anglers themselves and the structural integrity of the dam wall.

Angling TrustAfterwards, a meeting was held between Foremark Fly Fishers, the Angling Trust and the Operations Director of Severn Trent.

The Angling Trust and Foremark Fly Fishers will launch a petition this weekend at the Spring Fly Fair in Newark to seek the support of thousands of anglers who are angered by this decision by the privatised utility. The petition will go online next week on the Angling Trust website at

Earlier this week, support for the anglers case came from an unlikely source: the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), whose Strategy Division wrote to the angling club: “there are a great many myths circulating about what ‘health and safety regulations’ require; they are just that – myths. Unfortunately some organisations fall for these myths and act upon them. It does appear that health and safety is being used as a reason to limit the amount of fishing along the banks of the reservoir when the real reason may well be something else altogether.”

The HSE went on to suggest that the anglers ask the company for a copy of the risk assessment which led to the decision being taken. Despite several requests to Severn Trent, a copy has not been forthcoming and at a meeting with Peter Gavin, a Director at Severn Trent, it was confirmed that the document would not be released. This has led anglers to speculate that no such assessment exists.

David Coates, Chairman of Foremark Fly Fishers said: “I felt that the meeting was positive although no firm commitments were made, the dialogue has opened up and the company has agreed to make a ‘response with substance’ in the next two weeks or so.”

Alan Dawes, Secretary Foremark Fly Fishers and Angling Correspondent for the Burton Mail said: “it was good to meet Severn Trent face to face, and although nothing positive came out of the meeting, it was obvious that they listened to our grievances and were prepared to discuss it further in the near future.”

Mark Lloyd Chief Executive, Angling Trust said: “I am appalled by the way Severn Trent has treated their customers. There has been no consultation about this entirely unreasonable decision and no attempt to take on board our members’ suggestions for measures to mitigate any risks which might exist. It is clear that the Health and Safety Executive agrees. We will be calling on all anglers to sign our petition and, if they are shareholders or customers of Severn Trent, to write to the company and complain.”

Source: Angling Trust

Published in Latest UK fishing news


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