The Anglers’ Conservation Association (ACA) has won £15,000 damages on behalf of the Potteries Angling Society, an ACA member club, for pollution of the River Churnet and the Cauldon Canal with farm slurry. 


In July 2004, a discharge of farm slurry into Coombes Brook caused a huge plume of polluted water to kill fish on the Churnet, canalised section of the Churnet and Cauldon Canal, killing thousands of adult fish and fry, including dace, roach, perch, bream, pike, carp, gudgeon and bullheads.


The Environment Agency investigated, but the farmer was let off with a formal caution – there was no prosecution and no fine.  Fortunately, the Potteries Angling Society (PAS) and indeed the owner of the fishing rights affected are both members of the ACA.  We were therefore able to step in and hit the farmer with a civil claim for damage to the fishery.


The £15,000 damages will enable the PAS to carry out much-needed habitat restoration and fisheries work to help the Churnet recover.  The ACA action has turned a disaster into a recovery plan for the affected watercourses.


Mark Lloyd, Executive Director at the ACA said: ”Farmers have been told that many times to be careful with slurry spreading. Where they ignore that advice and cause damage to fish and other wildlife, they deserve to find themselves on the receiving end of legal action.  This win demonstrates the ACA’s continuing commitment to ensure that no polluter escapes justice and that our member clubs have the legal protection necessary to recover damages.  Even when the Environment Agency can’t or won’t prosecute, the ACA will take legal proceedings on behalf of its members to fight for fisheries and angling.  We urge any clubs or fishery owners to sign up for membership of the ACA – the only organisation which provides this service – as soon as possible.”