The Anglers’ Conservation Association (ACA) has issued formal court proceedings in relation to severe damage to fisheries caused by two separate agricultural pollution incidents.


The first case relates to farm pollution of the River Brue in Somerset which caused a massive fish kill and affecting the fishing for six different ACA riparian members as well as two angling clubs, the Dorchester and District Angling Society and the Glaston Manor Angling Association.


The pollution incident occurred in August 2004 when farm effluent was discharged into the River Brue, killing hundreds of coarse fish and brown trout.  The impact of the pollution and fish kill was experienced many kilometres downstream. The farmer was prosecuted by the Environment Agency but was only fined a paltry £1,000 for the offence. The claim made by the ACA is for over £10,000 in costs and damages.


The second agricultural case relates to persistent slurry pollution of the Olway Brook which badly damaged an ACA member’s brown trout fishery in 2004, causing severe damage to invertebrate and fish populations, including one estimated kill of over 2,000 fish.


Pollution from the farm involved had been recorded by the Environment Agency on 14 previous occasions and prior to the 2004 fish kill, fish and invertebrate populations had already been harmed. The ACA suspects that this chronic pollution has further ensured that no successful salmon or sea trout spawning could be re-established in the Brook. The farmer also failed to comply with a Works Notice served on him by the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency prosecuted and secured heavy fines of £15,000.  The ACA’s claim is for a further £12,000 in damages and costs and the organisation is seeking an injunction that will force the farmer to farm in accordance with good farming practice in future.


Guy Linley-Adams, ACA solicitor commented: “We are confident that this combination of statutory fines and civil damages will provide a serious wake-up call to rogue farmers.  There is more than enough guidance out there telling farmers how to farm without causing pollution.  The message is clear.  There can be no excuse for farmers polluting rivers.”