This service is of no real benefit to anglers because the Environment Agency (EA) does not require applications to be checked before submission. The web site has been set up this year and comes top of a Google search for "Rod Licence". In addition to the extra charge, anglers buying their licences from the web site will not be able to go fishing until they receive their licence in the post. The EA site offers a receipt and reference number which does allow people to fish while they are waiting for the licence to arrive.
The Angling Trust strongly recommends that all freshwater anglers buy their licence direct from the Environment Agency over the phone or via its website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/recreation/fishing/31497.aspx
, or from Post Offices and clearly authorised outlets. The representative body for all anglers will also be writing to Consumer Direct to complain about the web site and raising the matter with Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon MP and Charles Walker, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Angling Group.
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: "This site offers no real extra service, but demands a 50% surcharge on top of the rod licence fee and we urge all anglers to spread the word. We would encourage members who have concerns about this website to contact Consumer Direct and their MP. Any unsuspecting new anglers trying to buy their first licence might be put off by the inflated price and decide not to take up fishing."
For more info about writing to Consumer Direct go to www.oft.gov.uk/consumer-advice/oft-and-cd
To find your MP go to findyourmp.parliament.uk