The electricity industry is asking experienced anglers to help youngsters avoid the dangers of overhead power lines by offering some straightforward guidance.

The risks from power lines may not be obvious especially for some of our young anglers. Key messages are:

•             Touching an overhead power line with a rod or line can kill you.
•             All rods, poles and fishing lines conduct electricity when wet.
•             Carbon, lead and some other materials conduct electricity even when dry.
•             Electricity can jump gaps, so a rod does not even have to touch an overhead power line.
•             Power lines may be hidden behind hedges or trees.
•             The safe distance is a minimum of 30 metres.

Thankfully the number of incidents is small but this wasn’t always the case. In the 1980s there were several incidents each year involving angling and overhead power lines, tragically some of these were fatal and many involved serious injuries.

By 2008 this had fallen to zero and was in no short measure thanks to the efforts of a range of organisations including the Angling Trust, the Environment Agency and British Waterways, brought together by the electricity industry to tackle the problem.

Over the years, with valuable help from clubs and others, it has developed a number of initiatives such as the use of signs on river banks, education leaflets, demonstrations at events, advertising in magazines, videos and more.

Sadly, despite these efforts another tragic incident occurred in 2009, again with serious injuries. The few incidents that have occurred in the last ten years have all involved young anglers, often at unofficial sites. These young anglers may not be easy to reach by the communication methods used so far.

So the industry is asking for your help to reach these younger anglers, and identify unofficial sites where they might be at risk. We are not looking to spoil anyone’s fun – we just want to get our message across.

So what can you do? Here are a few ideas:

•             Talk to any young anglers you know and make them aware of the hazards of fishing near overhead power lines.
•             Let us know about any unofficial sites you know of where there are overhead power lines within 30 metres without warning signs.
•             Most clubs have now put signs up on banks warning anglers about the presence of overhead power lines, so if you see any angling sites near overhead power lines without signs, the chances are it is an unofficial site. Either way, we want to know about these.
•             If you see young anglers near overhead power lines, make sure they are aware of the risks.
•             Include this in any training you do that involves young anglers

With your help we can make these tragic incidents history and help everyone enjoy the sport. If you want to let us know about unofficial fishing sites near power lines without warning signs, send details to or ring us on 0207 706 5100.