The Anglers’ Conservation Association (ACA) has got off to a flyer in 2007, securing compensation of £34,500 in relation to damage to fisheries caused in three separate pollution incidents.  It is forcing disclosure in a fourth case that should lead to yet more damages being paid by polluters to angling clubs.

Lymington River
On the Lymington River, the ACA acted for the Brokenhurst Manor Fly Fishing Club, the Welworthy Angling Club and two riparian fishery owners against Southern Water, who had been convicted of environmental offences relating to a prolonged discharge of raw sewage into the river in July 2005.  Despite massive efforts by Environment Agency staff on the ground in deploying aerators, there was a significant fish kill of sea trout and wild brown trout, chub, roach, pike, gudgeon, minnows, lampreys, stone loach and bullheads.  The ACA secured £15,024 in damages for the clubs and owners and recovered £3,000 in costs.

River Ray
On the River Ray in Swindon, the ACA acted for the South Cerney Angling Club against Cable and Wireless following a leak of 8,000 litres of red diesel from their site into the Westlea Brook and River Ray in January 2005.  There was a fish kill of small coarse fish in the Brook, red diesel coated the bankside vegetation and was also found on the bed of both the Westlea Brook and the River Ray itself.  The ACA secured £2,500 in damages for the club and £500 in costs.

Pearl Lake Fishery
At Pearl Lake, the ACA has recovered £17,046 in damages for appalling pollution of this lovely lake fishery by a neighbouring animal feedstuff manufacturer.  The poorly maintained site leaked thousands of litres of soya oil into the lakes last year, killing bream, pike and tench. The ACA also recovered £1,500 in costs.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal
Also in January, the ACA has forced United Utilities Water plc and Robert McBride Limited, a Burnley-based detergent manufacturer, to provide details of their activities during repeat pollution events on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.  In November 2003 and again in April 2004, detergent pollution caused massive fish kills on the canal fished by the Pendle Burnley and District Anglers. In April 2004, a skip and half of dead coarse fish were removed from the canal to a nearby landfill site.  In the face of denials from the potential defendants, the ACA made an application to Court for the two potential defendants to open their files. They have now both provided full disclosure and paid the ACA’s costs.  The Environment Agency has been unable to prosecute either party for any of the incidents but the ACA has now extracted sufficient evidence to take legal proceedings to make the polluter pay.

Guy Linley-Adams, ACA solicitor commented:
“We are delighted with progress so far this year. The ACA’s legal team has every intention of making this the ACA’s best year yet, following the records we set in 2006.”

Mark Lloyd, ACA Executive Director said: “This record demonstrates why it is so important for every angler to support the ACA’s work with just £20 a year.  Also, if your club isn’t a member, or you own or lease your own fishing and you are not a member, we can’t act for you.  No other organisation offers this kind of protection when disaster strikes.  Every penny of the damages we have won has been sent back to the clubs and owners affected.  As the case on the River Lymington shows, if we are able to act on behalf of several clubs and owners at the same time, we can make the polluter pay much more than if just one owner or club on a river is a member.”