Angling Trust backs WWF campaign for abstraction action

The Angling Trust is backing a major new campaign spearheaded by WWF-UK to press government for better protection for our precious rivers from over-abstraction and sewage pollution. The Nature Needs You campaign, which is supported by around 40 individual rivers trusts, asks people to take action to help safeguard our rivers.

Fewer than one in five UK rivers currently meet Good Ecological Status standards required by the European Union’s Water Framework Directive and nearly 25% are at risk of over-abstraction. As a result, half of all freshwater wildlife, including many fish species, are in decline and 13% are threatened with extinction.

On the campaign website there is a simple form that allows users to send a message directly to their recently elected MP. The ask is for him or her to put pressure on the new Environment Secretary Michael Gove to deliver on the government’s long-overdue promise to reform the outdated water abstraction regime and to exert stricter controls over sewer overflows. There is also an interactive river map through which people can find out the state of their local river or stream.

The key campaign objectives are for the Environment Secretary to:

1. Safeguard nature by ensuring European water and environmental directives are transferred into law in England and Wales and mechanisms are established to enforce implementation post-Brexit.
2. Deliver immediate action – before leaving the EU – to ensure that the legal deadline to achieve good ecological status in English and Welsh rivers by 2027 is met.
3. Mandate water companies to set out long-term wastewater plans to ensure sewage stops polluting our rivers.
4. Empower the environmental regulators to ensure all abstraction is limited to sustainable levels.
5. Publish a strong 25-year plan for the environment which includes committing […]

By |July 24th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Angling Trust backs WWF campaign for abstraction action|

Good news at last for the River Kennet

The Angling Trust joined Action for the River Kennet (ARK), WWF and the Environment Agency to celebrate the completion of a £30 million project to reduce abstraction levels from the famous Wiltshire and Berkshire chalk stream.

The event, held at Mildenhall near Marlborough, was to formally mark the commissioning of Thames Water’s new Axford pipeline, running 18 kilometres from the company’s Blunsdon reservoir north of Swindon, to Whitefield reservoir to the south-east of the town.

The pipeline will see a seven million litre per day reduction in water being abstracted by the water company – protecting the River Og and the River Kennet downstream of Marlborough during periods of dry weather.

The project followed years of lobbying against excessive water abstraction from the Upper Kennet, by angling and conservation groups backed by local MP and Angling Trust Ambassador Richard Benyon.

The Angling Trust, the Environment Agency and Action for the River Kennet (ARK) have long claimed that water removed at Axford and Ogbourne treatment works, and not returned to the Kennet, has had a detrimental impact on the river, which is listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is one of England’s best known chalk stream fisheries.

Martin Salter, National Campaigns Coordinator for the Angling Trust, who has fished the Kennet since childhood said: “The Kennet is an iconic English chalk stream which has sadly declined as a fishery, particularly in the lower reaches.

“It has suffered from the reopening of the Kennet and Avon canal in the 90s which resulted in the siltation of many of the vital gravel spawning areas and from low summer flows caused by over abstraction in the upper river.

“The Angling Trust has been lobbying for the Axford pipeline to be built […]

By |July 7th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Good news at last for the River Kennet|

The Barbel Show – June 4th 2017

Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LD
Sunday 4th June 2017. 9.30am-5.00pm

Guest speakers include;
Dai Gribble
Gary Knowles
Dave Chambers
Paul Floyd
Christophe Pelhate
The Angling Trust

Plus special guest: Barbel Society Ambassador Des Taylor

Large trade room for all your pre-season purchases of tackle and bait, bargains galore.
Anyone who books tickets in advance gets a free day ticket to one of our fisheries and also gets entered into a draw for a free membership to the Barbel Society for the following season.

Alternatively you can pay on the door on the day.

Members £10.00
Non-members £12.00
Partners and children under 16 FREE

Members can bring second hand tackle for sale on the second hand stall, label items clearly with price and include 10% for BS funds.

Renewals and fishery permits can be purchased on the day.

By |March 14th, 2017|News|Comments Off on The Barbel Show – June 4th 2017|

West Midlands Regional Meeting – 23rd April

An evening with Steve Pope and Lawrence Breakspear

Sunday 23rd April @ 7PM

Aston Manor Cricket Club
Church Lane
Perry Barr
B42 2LA

Free for BS Members
Non-members £3


By |February 28th, 2017|News|Comments Off on West Midlands Regional Meeting – 23rd April|

End of an Era

Pete Reading has decided to step down from the BS committee.

He has been an absolute stalwart over the past ten years especially in his role as Research and Conservation Chairman. On behalf of the Society we would like to say a huge thank you to Pete for his commitment and expertise which have been invaluable to the Society. He will be a hard act to follow but we have strong foundations in place and this will enable the good work to continue and flourish.

We wish Pete all the very best in his retirement from committee work.

The Barbel Society Committee – January 2017

By |January 20th, 2017|News|Comments Off on End of an Era|

Major pollution incident on River Teifi highlights national failure of government to tackle agricultural pollution

This week the River Teifi in Wales, which was once one of the premier salmon and sea trout rivers in the UK, was polluted with farm slurry and hundreds, possibly thousands, of fish have been killed. The impact on fish stocks is likely to be very severe for up to a decade, and thousands of both local and visiting anglers who bring money into the Welsh economy will have their sport destroyed.

Fish Legal, a membership association for angling clubs and fishery owners, is fighting more than 60 legal cases throughout the UK and is investigating the Teifi pollution case to see if it can make a compensation claim for its member angling clubs and riparian owners who have been affected. However, many elderly anglers who have fished the river all their lives may not live to see it restored to its former glory. Thousands of anglers on internet forums have expressed their fury in the past two days about the pollution of this beautiful river.

This tragic incident is the latest in a rising tide of major pollutions from farms affecting rivers in England and Wales. Government figures show that farming is now the top cause of major pollution incidents and also the principal cause of the general malaise affecting the majority of rivers. The Angling Trust has repeatedly called for tougher regulation of farmers for more than five years, including earlier this month on BBC Countryfile, but governments in Westminster and Cardiff have chosen to take a light touch to regulation.

The Angling Trust is, coincidentally, this week responding to a consultation from Welsh Assembly Government about a proposal to define the whole of Wales as a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, which would place greater restrictions […]

By |December 22nd, 2016|News|Comments Off on Major pollution incident on River Teifi highlights national failure of government to tackle agricultural pollution|

Tony Miles

The Barbel Society is very saddened to hear that one of our founder members, highly respected specimen angler and writer Tony Miles has passed away.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.

By |December 8th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Tony Miles|

Hampshire Avon fish habitat projects

The Barbel Society (BS), Environment Agency (EA) and Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust (WCSRT) are pleased to announce details of the latest habitat improvement projects completed as part of a continuing partnership which plans to improve habitat for fish fry and other wildlife on the Hampshire Avon.

Using funding provided by the EA and BS, and technical and logistical support from WCSRT, ten log deflectors and five fry bays were constructed at a site near Fordingbridge, which will improve diversity of flow and create refuges for fish fry of all species, as well as connecting hundreds of metres of water meadow ditches to the main river. Live willow was also planted to create overhead and instream cover.

An old silted flight pond, within an old oxbow area, upstream of Ringwood, has been enlarged and connected to the river via a ditch, creating a large backwater which will again be an important refuge for fish fry of all species, as well as important plants, invertebrates and other wildlife.

Pete Reading, Conservation Officer for the Barbel Society said; “We are delighted with the positive results of our continuing partnership with the EA and WCSRT, and also with local landowners, and can see huge benefits for fish and other wildlife from these restoration measures”

Richard Battersby, Fisheries Team Leader for the Environment Agency said; “This is one of a number of projects we have delivered in partnership across the Wessex Area which has benefitted both fish and their habitat. Funding has been and is available through our Fisheries Improvement Programme which is directly funded by rod licence holders through the purchase of their EA rod licence. I would urge any interested clubs or groups who have any projects in mind […]

By |December 6th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Hampshire Avon fish habitat projects|

An appeal to all anglers from the Angling Trust

The Angling Trust is pressing hard to secure a better outcome for threatened bass stocks at the crucial forthcoming meeting of EU fisheries ministers on December 12th.

Across Northern Europe, sea bass stocks are in deep trouble because of commercial overfishing and the repeated failure of politicians and fishery managers to follow scientific advice and introduce the necessary conservation measures. The Angling Trust and Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society (B.A.S.S.) have pressed hard for a ban on bass netting and we fully support the EU Commission’s proposals for 2017 for a sustainable and well managed recreational and commercial hook and line only bass fishery.

Last year’s disproportionate restrictions on anglers and increased commercial catch limits were bad for bass, bad for coastal businesses, bad for the tackle trade and damaging to our sport. The Commission’s proposals would not only see the removal of the damaging bass nets, which also kill sea birds, porpoises, dolphins and seals, but the introduction of a more flexible monthly bag limit for anglers. This would be good news for the struggling charter boat fleet and for the fishing tackle trade as more anglers would once again go bass fishing.

But there’s a real danger that the proposals will be watered down in the face of political pressure from commercial fishermen and so we need to stand up and be counted as anglers.

The campaign seems to be going well and we already have over 6,000 signatures on our national petition. Lots of people have gone on to the campaign page to either sign or to send an email to their MP. However, we need to keep the pressure up and this is where YOU can help.

It would be great if you could sign the […]

By |December 1st, 2016|News|Comments Off on An appeal to all anglers from the Angling Trust|

Angling Trust reminds Water Minister of government promises to protect our rivers

The Angling Trust has written to the recently appointed Water Minister, Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, to urge her to fulfil promises from previous Ministers to reform the water abstraction licensing system and afford better protection to our precious rivers.

The Angling Trust, alongside conservation and fisheries NGOs, has been calling for a reform of abstraction licensing policy for several years and the government announced last December its intention to do this, but there has been little or no progress subsequently and there are worrying indications that the promise to act is going to be broken.

The current regime, which is the national system that approves water being taken from the environment for use by the public, businesses and farms, was formally created by the Water Act of 1963, by amalgamating previous licences into a single permitting regime.

At the time, this was done with little or no consideration of what level of abstraction our water bodies could actually supply without causing harm to wildlife. Today, a third of river catchments in England and Wales are either ‘over-licensed’ or ‘over-abstracted’ according to Environment Agency figures, with more water taken out than the environment can sustain. Furthermore, around 600 water bodies are at risk of failing to meet EU Water Framework Directive standards due to low flows resulting from abstraction.

There are some promising indications of change. Earlier this year the government consulted on proposals to bring a raft of damaging abstractions into the licensing system that were previously exempt from any control, under the banner of New Authorisations. This will include highly damaging trickle irrigation, water transfers between water bodies, and dewatering of mines, quarries and engineering works.
However, a far more fundamental change is required if the UK is […]

By |November 30th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Angling Trust reminds Water Minister of government promises to protect our rivers|