Like London Buses!

27 May

It has been quite a while since we saw a petition relevant to our rivers, but now we have two at once!

The first is a parliamentary petition at the behest of Salmon and Trout Conservation UK. They have published a report on the Environment Agency’s role in protecting and enhancing the rivers, lakes and streams of England over the twenty-five years since its formation.  The section headings of the report give a very good summary of the ground they cover:

  • Twenty-five years of the EA
  • The state of the freshwater aquatic environment in England
  • How has the EA been performing?
  • Inadequate monitoring
  • Operator self-monitoring – an invitation to cheat?
  • Poor inspection rates
  • Declining responses to public reports of pollution
  • Weak enforcement and vanishing prosecutions
  • The pernicious effect of deregulation, guidance and codes on the EA
  • Why has the EA been performing so poorly?
  • Declining funding and staffing
  • Conclusions and recommendations

It is an interesting and reasoned document, which you can read in full here

The S&TC seek to improve the position by requiring the Government to reverse years of cuts to Agency budgets, increase charges for polluters, and give the Agency freedom from overly business-friendly Government codes and guidance, so it can pursue and achieve its principle statutory objective to protect and enhance English rivers.

Please sign the petition.

 

 

 

Second up, and in a similar vein, is the Angling Trust, who summarise as follows

THE PROBLEMS

  • All our water bodies assessed under the Water Framework Directive are failing chemical pollution standards.
  • Only 16% of waters assessed under the Water Framework Directive met the “good” standard (the same level as the last assessment in 2016).
  • In 2019, combined sewage overflows (CSOs) released raw sewage into our waterways 204,134 times, for a total duration of 1.53 million hours.
  • The discharges from 3,400 CSOs are still not monitored.
  • Since 2010 the Environment Agency has seen its budget cut by 57%.
  • Too often polluters are not held to account and are simply getting away with polluting our waters.

THE SOLUTIONS

  • Better monitoring of our rivers, lakes, canals and coastal waters.
  • Proper enforcement of existing laws and regulations.
  • Stricter penalties against polluters to discourage them from polluting again.
  • Review of existing laws to help close loopholes.

They too are calling upon the government to provide enough funding to Environment Agency, Natural Resource Wales and Natural England to ensure they are able to carry out fully their statutory duties, as well as calling for more action on monitoring and prosecuting pollution.

You may sign up to this petition here

We will monitor the progress of these petitions and report back in due course.

Beavers again!

6 May

We have mentioned before the introduction of beavers in the UK and cast doubt upon the wisdom of so doing without proper research into the consequences. Lo and behold!   A recent article from the BBC News service has illustrated the potential problems.

In a small town in Quebec, beavers chewed through fibre cable at multiple points, causing disruption to internet and TV service. More telling was that the cable had been buried 3 feet underground and protected by a conduit more than 4 inches thick. Of great interest also is the report that farmers in particular worry about the havoc beavers could cause to crops and trees. Further, the mayor of the affected town had already blamed beavers for extensive flooding which damaged property and infrastructure.

And we are deliberately introducing these creatures into the British countryside without proper research into the consequences or any formal mechanism for monitoring and control?

The BBC article can be found here

No, not an April Fool!

6 Apr

When I read an article about this in the weekend paper, I really did think that someone had missed an April Fool’s prank.   The “report” on Fish Welfare by the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation reads just like an April Fool, and the Angling Trust have done well to call a spade a spade and label it an ‘ill informed anti-angling rant lacking in evidence or credibility’.

You can read the Angling Trust’s reaction here, and their page also contains a link to the full report.  Just a tip: if you suffer from high blood pressure, do not read the full report!

Kudos to the Angling Trust for their unequivocal response!   They set a great example to us all of how we must not let these wild allegations go unchallenged, and how we should both bring them to light wherever they occur and correct them in a calm and factual manner.

North East Fisheries Forum

18 Mar
Those of you not in the Angling Trust, or, who like me are in the Trust but somehow never get email from them, may not be aware of a forthcoming Virtual Fisheries Forum | North East Environment Agency Updates webinar which has, apparently, been arranged at short notice.

 

The AT states “In this Virtual Fisheries Forum, we welcome the Environment Agency’s Phil Rippon for an update on the work of the Fisheries Team in the North East Region. In addition to a catch up on recent Environment Agency projects in the area, Phil will provide a review of the Team’s work in 2020, with a forward look into key activities planned for the future.” And with regard to those key activities planned for the future, please be prepared to respond to any forthcoming Environment Agency consultations regarding fish stocks – we will notify you as soon as they appear.

 

Although not quite the same as attending a meeting, it is still as important as ever that as many as possible participate, particularly with a number of important decisions to be reached by the end of this year. The webinar will be on Zoom, and once you have registered, you will be sent a link for joining. You do not need an account with Zoom in order to take part.

 

Please use this link for registration.