News

Fish Legal Briefing. April 2020
Welsh club’s day in Court on hold due to virus
Members of the Rhymney and District Angling Club will have to wait to face Caerphilly County Council in Court as Covid-19 restrictions have meant the club’s April trial has been adjourned.  The case was due to be heard at Cardiff County Court over three days starting on 14 April.  The Defendant Council, who applied to the Court to change its defence at the last minute, drained the club’s fishery at Parc Cwm Darran without notice in 2013 to carry out desilting works. Club members were due to give evidence in person about the extent of the fish deaths that resulted from the drain-down, something for which the Council continues to deny responsibility.Image credit: Ham
E.ON fight on in key information law decisionE.ON UK Plc has appealed the decision notice published by the Information Commissioner’s Office in February which confirmed that electricity and gas companies are subject to the same public scrutiny of how their activities affect the environment as the water industry.Fish Legal has joined as a party to fight the appeal as it was a refusal by E.ON to provide information to a charter boat member facing exclusion from renowned wreck-fishing areas around Rampion Wind Farm that started the action. Written arguments are due at the end of April, although Covid-19 restrictions could mean it is some time before the appeal is heard. Farmer to defend sea trout and salmon fishery damage in CourtThe High Court in Bristol has set a timetable leading up to a trial to consider a claim made by a Fish Legal riparian member against a local farmer for causing damage to a salmon and sea trout fishery on the River Taw.  The Environment Agency did not prosecute, leaving it up to Fish Legal to take a civil claim. Fisheries experts and angler witnesses will appear at a 5-day trial in January 2021 to give evidence about how the fishery has been dug out, straightened and used as a crossing between fields by vehicles and cattle. Swansea club challenge ‘legal’ sewage pollution of River Tawe Pressure is mounting on Natural Resources Wales and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water to stop raw sewage discharging into the River Tawe near Swansea after heavy rain. Fish Legal is advising the Mond Angling Society whose members fish downstream of a poorly-sited outfall at Trebanos Sewage Treatment Works. The water company’s facility appears to be unable to properly treat sewage in wet weather. Despite being aware of the problem, Natural Resources Wales made only minor variations to the discharge permit in 2018 which allows ‘storm’ sewage to continue polluting one of the few fisheries in South Wales that offers the opportunity for disabled anglers to fish for salmon. Fencing company faces legal action over toxic run-off Fish Legal has started court action against Weald Fencing Products Limited on behalf of an East Sussex-based fishery member for damage caused to part of a 100-acre fishing complex by leachate. Contaminated liquid seeping from a mountain of woodchip stockpiled on land upstream of the fishery poisoned part of the popular venue, badly affecting two of its ponds, one of which was left completely lifeless for a significant period. Fish Legal raises state of Firth of Clyde fish stocks with Scottish MinisterFish Legal met Stuart McMillan MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde in March to highlight the continuing failure of the Scottish Government to take measures to restore the decimated fish populations of the Firth of Clyde. Following the publication of a report by Government scientists in 2014 showing high levels of impact on fish populations caused by prawn trawling, the Scottish Government pledged an action programme to restore the ecological condition of the Firth of Clyde by 2020. Yet no measures have been taken and the state of the Firth of Clyde remains unchanged.  As a result of the meeting, Stuart McMillan agreed to ask questions in Parliament.Image credit: Nick Birse (Wikimedia Commons)
In case you missed it… Cam pollution: Anglian Water ordered to pay indemnity costsAnglian Water was ordered to pay “Indemnity” costs by a judge following a long saga of litigation after a sewage pollution of the River Cam in 2013. Anglian Water lost at trial in October 2019 and was ordered to pay the Cambridge Fish Preservation and Angling Society (CFPAS) for restocking the River Cam following the pollution which wiped out hundreds of fish. The water company then appealed but its application was dismissed. The Court went on to rule that Anglian Water must pay indemnity costs (rather than standard or ordinary costs) because of its unreasonable conduct, including its late admission of liability and failure to agree to meet to negotiate a settlement. Full story Yorkshire Water pay Walton Angling Club £20,000 compensationYorkshire Water has paid Walton Angling Club £20,000 in compensation six years after the utility giant caused a catastrophic pollution. In October 2013, a pipe rupture resulted in large quantities of raw sewage entering Walton Colliery Lake near Wakefield, killing the fish and all other aquatic life. Yorkshire Water were prosecuted by the Environment Agency and fined £600,000 at Leeds Crown Court in 2016. Subsequent efforts to restock the lake by Yorkshire Water were largely unsuccessful. A compensation claim was made by Fish Legal on behalf of Walton Angling Club and after protracted negotiations, Yorkshire Water finally agreed to pay the claim before court proceedings were issued. Full story IMPORTANT UPDATE: In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Angling Trust & Fish Legal have set up an angling support hub providing guidance on the latest recommendations from Government and answering any questions anglers may have on this issue. The hub also provides links to financial support for clubs, fisheries and other angling organisations, and includes a video message from Jamie Cook, Angling Trust & Fish Legal CEO, on the work we are doing to get anglers back out fishing again safely in the near future.

Farmer to defend sea trout and salmon fishery damage in Court

The High Court in Bristol has set a timetable leading up to a trial to consider a claim made by a Fish Legal riparian member against a local farmer for causing damage to a salmon and sea trout fishery on the River Taw.  The Environment Agency did not prosecute, leaving it up to Fish Legal to take a civil claim. Fisheries experts and angler witnesses will appear at a 5-day trial in January 2021 to give evidence about how the fishery has been dug out, straightened and used as a crossing between fields by vehicles and cattle.

Swansea club challenge ‘legal’ sewage pollution of River Tawe

Pressure is mounting on Natural Resources Wales and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water to stop raw sewage discharging into the River Tawe near Swansea after heavy rain. Fish Legal is advising the Mond Angling Society whose members fish downstream of a poorly-sited outfall at Trebanos Sewage Treatment Works. The water company’s facility appears to be unable to properly treat sewage in wet weather. Despite being aware of the problem, Natural Resources Wales made only minor variations to the discharge permit in 2018 which allows ‘storm’ sewage to continue polluting one of the few fisheries in South Wales that offers the opportunity for disabled anglers to fish for salmon.

Fencing company faces legal action over toxic run-off

Fish Legal has started court action against Weald Fencing Products Limited on behalf of an East Sussex-based fishery member for damage caused to part of a 100-acre fishing complex by leachate. Contaminated liquid seeping from a mountain of woodchip stockpiled on land upstream of the fishery poisoned part of the popular venue, badly affecting two of its ponds, one of which was left completely lifeless for a significant period.

Fish Legal raises state of Firth of Clyde fish stocks with Scottish Minister

Fish Legal met Stuart McMillan MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde in March to highlight the continuing failure of the Scottish Government to take measures to restore the decimated fish populations of the Firth of Clyde. Following the publication of a report by Government scientists in 2014 showing high levels of impact on fish populations caused by prawn trawling, the Scottish Government pledged an action programme to restore the ecological condition of the Firth of Clyde by 2020. Yet no measures have been taken and the state of the Firth of Clyde remains unchanged.  As a result of the meeting, Stuart McMillan agreed to ask questions in Parliament.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Angling Trust & Fish Legal have set up an angling support hub providing guidance on the latest recommendations from Government and answering any questions anglers may have on this issue. The hub also provides links to financial support for clubs, fisheries and other angling organisations, and includes a video message from Jamie Cook, Angling Trust & Fish Legal CEO, on the work we are doing to get anglers back out fishing again safely in the near future.

Yorkshire Water pay Walton Angling Club £20,000 compensation

Yorkshire Water has paid Walton Angling Club £20,000 in compensation six years after the utility giant caused a catastrophic pollution. In October 2013, a pipe rupture resulted in large quantities of raw sewage entering Walton Colliery Lake near Wakefield, killing the fish and all other aquatic life. Yorkshire Water were prosecuted by the Environment Agency and fined £600,000 at Leeds Crown Court in 2016. Subsequent efforts to restock the lake by Yorkshire Water were largely unsuccessful. A compensation claim was made by Fish Legal on behalf of Walton Angling Club and after protracted negotiations, Yorkshire Water finally agreed to pay the claim before court proceedings were issued. Full story