NAFAC members, the Upper Thames Fisheries Consultative, are celebrating victory after 14 years patiently pressing the authorities to take note of a long standing illegal discharge in the Thames catchment.

Their dedication on behalf of local anglers has seen Thames Water prosecuted for discharging sewage into 4 Thames tributaries, Curbridge Ditch, Colwell Brook, Emma’s Dyke and the River Windrush. The Water Company was fined a total of £50,000 plus £25,000 costs for pollution which had been ongoing for a long time.

The problem arose because of inappropriate management of storm weir overflows. In periods of high rainfall, untreated sewage is allowed into rivers where the high water flows dilute and disperse it before it can cause too much damage to the environment. However poor operation of the sewerage treatment works meant that the untreated sewage was repeatedly discharging when flows were low, causing long term pollution and the growth of sewage fungus across the bed of the watercourses.

Anglers are benefiting from the re-setting of the weir and subsequent clean-up which has meant all three watercourses have since shown a huge ecological improvement.

A delighted Mike Mann, Chairman of the Upper Thames Fisheries Consultative said “This result shows that patience and co-operation within the Consultative movement can help guide the Environment Agency to improve the fisheries environment to the benefit of all. A number of our members were involved but particular effort was made by our Secretary, Richard Knowles.”

Chairman of NAFAC, Martin Read, additionally commented, “This result demonstrates the work that Angling Consultatives are doing as part of NAFAC, and on behalf of anglers, angling, and fisheries throughout the country”.

The National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives (NAFAC) is the national body of local and regional fisheries and angling consultatives (stakeholder groups) that together represent the views of over 400,000 anglers and others with an interest in our fisheries. for more information about NAFAC.