Thursday, 13 November 2014 16:47

EA Forced To Regulate Reservoir Pollution

Legal action on behalf Midlands-based Cropston Angling by Fish Legal – the Angling Trusts’ legal arm has resulted in a judicial review against the Environment Agency for its 20-year failure to regulate transfers of polluted water from other waterbodies into Cropston Reservoir by Severn Trent Water. 
The reservoir’s anglers, led by Ian Kilgour of Cropston Angling, complained to the Environment Agency (EA) as long ago as 2002 following decades of phosphorus pollution which had caused algal blooms in the lake and the steady decline of what was once one of the best trout fisheries in the Midlands. 
The EA’s response, until now, had been that Cropston Reservoir’s increasing phosphorus load is primarily the result of natural causes, in comparison to which the quantity of the artificial transfers is relatively minor. Fish Legal became involved in late 2013 and issued a judicial review claim on behalf of Cropston Angling against the EA’s failure to regulate the transfers, which the company continued to deny were its responsibly. However, prior to the trial, the EA changed its mind, agreeing to settle the claim on the basis that Fish Legal had now written “raising a number of points” about the Agency’s witness evidence and referring it to data already in its possession. It had now therefore “reconsidered the position in the light of available evidence”.
“We have been pointing out the all-too-obvious impact of these water transfers for 12 years, and have been consistently told by the authorities that we are wrong,” said Ian Kilgour of Cropston Angling. “It is good to be finally vindicated, but that does not compensate for the substantial financial losses we have suffered, nor guarantee that the problem will be rectified, unless firm action is now taken by the Agency.”
“We are glad that the Agency has at last accepted, in effect, that it was wrong all along on this issue and has now committed to the control of future transfers,” added Andrew Kelton, solicitor at Fish Legal.
“Eutrophication of lakes (and indeed rivers) is a serious and pervasive issue throughout the country, threatening fisheries, valuable aquatic ecosystems and even public drinking water supplies,” added Mark Lloyd, CEO of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal. “It is, however, a problem that experience has shown can be addressed via proper scientific assessment and determined regulation.
“We are glad that the Agency has now accepted the legal position that the science must come first and that the appropriate regulation must follow from that.”

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