The ACA has always been proud to have lost only 3 cases in its 60 year history. Sadly, this record is under threat as a court last week ruled in favour of United Utilities in a case we have been fighting on behalf of The Yorkshire Flyfishers Club and Penrith Anglers.
For two days in April 2006 raw sewage spilt from a blocked main sewer at the pipe bridge at Penrith, Cumbria, into the river Eamont (a tributary of the Eden), polluting the water and littering the banks with sewage debris.
Although the Environment Agency decided at the time that the pollution was a criminal offence under the Water Resources Act 1991, no prosecution was brought against United Utilities.
Naturally, we were shocked by the judgement, which, if allowed to stand, effectively means that the utility will have been allowed to pollute the Eamont with no legal consequences whatsoever.
We are currently considering, along with the clubs, the grounds on which to lodge an appeal. This is one of four cases we have been fighting against United Utilities in 2008 – one was settled successfully in February.
Elsewhere, we have settled a claim against a farmer in Powys who polluted the River Camlad, a tributary of The Severn, in June 2005. A release of slurry from his farm caused a fish kill and wiped out invertebrate populations. Acting on behalf of the Pheasant Tail Flyfishers and the Camlad Fly Fishers Club, we secured £2,500 in compensation for loss of amenity, divided between the 2 clubs. Again, the Environment Agency failed to bring a criminal prosecution.
Given yesterday’s announcement that Severn Trent Water is facing a record £35.8m fine for deliberately providing false information to the regulator and the fact that Southern Water was fined £20.3m for similar offences earlier this year, we are amazed that the Environment Agency is pressing ahead with ‘Operator Self Monitoring’ plans which would put water companies in charge of monitoring their own environmental performance. The ACA is very concerned that this will lead to less – rather than better – regulation and has raised this at a senior level in the Agency. We will keep up the pressure. For full details on this and the above cases, please see: www.a-c-a.org/whatsnew.php
The ACA’s AGM will this year be held on Friday 20 June in London. More details, including how to vote on any special resolutions, will be included in the ACA’s annual report, out in late May.
Finally, last year the ACA raised more than £15,000 in auctions at the ACA Masters, our fundraising dinner and in our Annual Report, thanks to the generosity of many individuals, clubs and companies.
As you might be aware, 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the ACA, something which we would very much like to celebrate with you and all our members. We will this year be rolling all our auctions into one, within a special edition of our Annual Report and via our website.
We would be very grateful for any donations to our 2008 auction. It could be a day or two’s fishing, some fishing tackle, a stay in a hotel or anything else you feel appropriate. We are looking for a wide range of lots and therefore low value donations are just as welcome as the more expensive items. If you feel you have anything appropriate to donate, please email Seth Johnson-Marshall at email@example.com or contact him on 01568 620 447.
We will announce the start of the bidding in the ACA annual report which will be sent to all members in late May – please keep an eye out for your copy.