The Angling Trust – the body that represents anglers in England and Wales – has welcomed news that fines for polluting the country’s rivers will be used for environmental improvements.
Presently, fines paid by water companies – over £141m since 2015 – disappear into the Treasury with no benefit to the environment for the damage caused. This change will mean future fines will be used for environmental improvements such as creating wetlands, re-vegetating riverbanks and reconnecting meanders to the main channel of rivers.
Jamie Cook, CEO of the Angling Trust, said: “We welcome this move by the Government. We have been campaigning for this change and justice for our rivers, seas and fish from the damage water companies have done for a long time.
“We wrote to MPs in November 2021 calling for this course of action to be implemented. Following a huge amount of work behind the scenes and another year’s worth of proactive campaigning on behalf of the angling community we are pleased to see that the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have now adopted this logical suggestion.
“Fish Legal have always worked on the basis of returning damages to the impacted club or fishery where resource is needed to re-build, and we must now ensure that this commitment by the Government is directed to where the resource is required to make a difference for fish and the environments they depend upon.
“This should not be a decision for Defra alone. We have been calling for such a fund to be administered by a national panel run by Defra and the Environment Agency with an independent chair, NGO representatives and technical specialists.”
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