News: May 2014

Date posted: 14/05/14

Dredge the Quangoes


Philip Howard’s article in the May edition, regarding the mis-management of rivers by the Environment Agency, certainly struck a chord. It will be of little comfort to him to know that the situation is little better in North East. However, the Environment Agency is not the only culprit – Natural England should also share the blame.

My local river, the Till, was declared an SSSI in 1999, largely due to its strong runs of migratory fish, notable Sea Trout. A management regime similar to that described by Mr Howard was then imposed on the river. The ethos was that Mother Nature knows best and landowners were prohibited from carrying out regular, small scale in-river works. The results have also been similar: extensive erosion of agricultural land, damage to Council infrastructure, siltation of pools and riffles, and a significant decline in migratory fish.

Although I understand that the lower river and tributaries still enjoy a good run of fish, it saddens me to walk the upper river and see the silted up pools and only the occasional fish where there used to be large shoals. I estimate that the current Sea Trout run is no more than 10% of what it was before this management regime came into being. The answer seems to be more of the same mis-management!

I can only hope that the one positive result of last winter’s floods will be a re-think on the management of our precious riparian resources, with a shift in emphasis from the Clip-Board Conservationists back to those with a day-to-day knowledge of our rivers, operating within a sensible regulatory framework.


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