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Cautious welcome for Welsh
Government’s announcement
that it will finally act on
agricultural pollution
The Angling Trust has welcomed the
Welsh Government’s announcement
this week that it intends to introduce
new regulations and enforcement to
tackle the widespread and endemic
pollution of rivers in Wales from agriculture.
The announcement follows several
years of campaigning by the Angling
Trust and environmental groups in
Wales to highlight the increasing
problem of soil erosion and slurry pollution in arable and dairy farming
areas. However, the Angling Trust has
identified three key areas of concern
about the announcement.
1. There is no mention of new regulations to prevent soil erosion; many
rivers are being smothered in sediment as a result of poor soil management associated particularly
with over-grazing, and with stubble
turnip, maize and winter wheat
2. Resources for enforcement have
been cut repeatedly over the past
decade, and there will need to be
substantial investment in additional resources for the environmental regulator Natural Resources
Wales if these new regulations are
to have the desired effect.
3. The new regulations will not be in
place until January 2020 and will
have transitional periods to allow
farmers time to adapt, which may
mean that the benefits will not be
felt for several years and a number
of rivers in Wales are already at risk
of ecological collapse and local
extinctions of salmon after decades
of inaction.
The Angling Trust will be raising
these concerns at a meeting with the
Welsh Government’s Environment
Minister Hannah Blythin later this
month along with several other issues
threatening Welsh fish stocks and
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the
Angling Trust and Fish Legal said:
“This is welcome news after years of
us banging on the doors of Welsh
Government to urge them to take
urgent action to avert the environmental crisis on many Welsh rivers.
We have several reports of angling
clubs ceasing to exist because the
rivers they once fished have become
choked with sediment and excessive
algal growth. We would like to see
similar regulations introduced at the
same time to stop soil erosion, which
would also safeguard thousands of
homes and businesses from flooding.
New regulations only work if there is
a credible threat of enforcement, and
so we will be pressing for additional
resource to make this a reality as soon
as possible.”
Gloucester club
claim over deadly
River Leadon
Fish Legal has sent a letter of claim to
farmers in Dymock in Gloucestershire
on behalf of the Gloucester Angling
Club in connection with the devastating pollution
of the river Leadon in July 2016.
Tonnes of digestate killed tens of
thousands of fish – including brown
trout, chub, eel, dace, roach, lamprey
and bream – over a 16km stretch of
the river in what was described by
the Environment Agency at the time
as “one of the worst incidents on a
watercourse in the Herefordshire and
Gloucestershire area in the last ten
Agricultural pollution incidents
remain a serious threat to fisheries,
particularly in Wales as was highlighted in an ITV programme “Ruined
Rivers” broadcast recently. n
Bring a friend
to our fishing
One of the simple things you can
do to get more people fishing is
bring a friend to one of our ‘Get
Fishing’ events. Tackle, bait and
a day fishing licence are all
included at
uk. n

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