An Evening with the TAC – Mike Wilson Part 2

On the 14th July Thames Anglers Conservancy members enjoyed a second talk by Carp legend and angling historian Mike Wilson.

Mike’s first evening in February was simply not long enough so when the opportunity arose to host another event, it was one not to be missed.

Mike Wilson in full flow

The evening was unique as took place in the open air at Teddington Lock, members were asked to bring along a fishing chair and brolly in case of inclement weather, luckily for all it stayed fine.

A perfect evening to be by the river

Mike treated everyone to a talk about the history of what we know as modern day fishing tackle and had many examples that have been carefully preserved overtime. Mike’s knowledge is simply staggering and no doubt there will have to be ‘part 3’.

Teddington Lock in full bloom

We would like to thank Mike for his time again, the Environment Agency for allowing us to use the lock and to Jeff Kennet for making it all happen.

TAC

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New EA powers improve environmental investment

22-Jul-2011 The Environment Agency is the first enforcement body to use new civil sanctions – against an organisation that broke environmental regulations – as an alternative to criminal prosecution.

 

The Environment Agency has accepted an offer of £21,000 from Invensys PLC – an engineering and information technology company headquartered in London – for packaging waste offences. This funding will be given to specified organisations to drive environmental improvements in local communities. In addition to implementing a string of improvements to comply with Packaging Waste Regulations, the company has offered to fund “environment improvements and community benefits” equivalent to the cost of the offences committed – including a local authority led community recycling initiative.

In addition, the cost of the Environment Agency investigation and future monitoring are covered. By using civil sanctions in this way the Environment Agency is using its enforcement powers to ensure compliance and drive environmental improvements from regulatory breaches.

Environment Agency Director of Environment and Business, Ed Mitchell said: “Civil sanctions are an alternative to criminal prosecution for less serious environment offences – such as breaking packaging waste regulations. “They allow us to secure regulatory compliance from organisations, eliminate any financial gain from non-compliance and get them to react responsibly to the offending. “Organisations can make reparations that focus on environmental improvements and providing benefits for the local people affected by the offences. “Adding civil sanctions to our enforcement toolkit saves the Environment Agency time and money – freeing up our legal resources to prosecute more serious environmental offenders.” They are available for some, but not all, of the offences the Environment Agency enforce and started being used on 4 January 2011.

Thirty offers have been made by a range of organisations that have broken environmental regulations and propose innovative ways of responding responsibly to the offending, including setting up a local community recycling awareness scheme, donations to a range of environmental charities and provision of funding for a local school environmental project. All offers contain measures aimed to secure compliance now and in the future, to eliminate any financial gain or benefit from non-compliance, and to deter future non-compliance.

Invensys PLC self-reported their packaging waste offences (which occurred between 1998- 2010). The group and some of its subsidiaries had not been properly registered under Packaging Waste Regulations as they had considered obligations as separate companies (meaning they fell below the threshold for company size) not as part of a group.

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Vote for the best River Thames lock

22-Jul-2011

River Thames’ users are invited to vote for the best kept lock as the Environment Agency launches its annual waterways awards this week.

Voting opens today (Friday 22 July 2011) for the ‘Best Lock Site’ award. River users and other members of the public who visit the rural River Thames between Lechlade and Teddington are being asked to vote.

The Thames Waterways Award rewards the hard work of waterways staff along the River Thames and encourages good customer relations.

Matt Carter, Waterways Operations Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “ A variety of people contribute to the overall customer experience – permanent staff, seasonal staff and for the first time this year – volunteers. The awards provide a chance for members of the public to let us know how we are doing on the River Thames, so we can reward these people for their great teamwork.”

Votes can be cast online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/bestthameslock from now until Sunday 31 October and winners will be announced in December.

When voting for the Best Lock Site, river users are asked to rate the level of service received at the lock and consider the locks’ gardens, general maintenance, cleanliness and availability of information.

Everyone who casts a vote this year will be entered into a prize draw with the opportunity to win a 20 per cent discount on next year’s River Thames boating licence.

The 2011 waterways awards are kindly sponsored by Atkins Ltd. and Peter Brett Associates LLP.

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Environment Agency urges farmers and water companies to act now in response to drought

12-Jul-2011

Action should be taken now to protect water supplies for business, agriculture, the environment and people – thereby minimising the risk of water restrictions in the future, says a new report from the Environment Agency.

It recommends that more farmers should invest in winter storage and that water companies plan ahead for more long, dry periods and continue running campaigns to encourage customers to reduce water.

The Drought Prospects report was commissioned by Defra in response to the recent widespread drought across eastern England. It has been sent to the Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman.

The report shows that a dry winter could lead to significant problems in drought-hit areas next year and urges action to minimise the impacts.

This year’s drought has left public water supplies largely unaffected. However, businesses which pump water from rivers have seen some restrictions put in place to prevent damage to the environment. Farmers have been hardest hit, since they rely heavily on abstractions from rivers to irrigate crops during the spring and summer.

Key findings and recommendations

The Environment Agency report includes the following key findings and recommendations:

• Water companies in drought affected areas should follow their drought plans which include co-ordinated campaigns for using water wisely, targeted at domestic and business users.

• Water companies should also prepare plans based on different rainfall scenarios that might occur during the winter, so they are ready to take action if necessary

• Farmers should act now to consider how to meet their future water needs. They can become more drought resilient by constructing reservoirs – those farmers who do not have a winter storage reservoir should investigate whether building one is feasible and possible sources of financial support.

• Farmers need to work together to develop solutions to ensure current supplies last as long as possible. This could include the continuation of ‘water cooperatives’ to share water and applying voluntary restrictions when required to avoid formal measures.

The Environment Agency said that timely and prudent actions taken now will maximise the ability of the public, farmers, businesses and the environment to withstand the impacts of any long drought.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:

“While we have had some much needed rain in recent weeks, events like this year’s drought could become ever more common and all the main players; water companies, farmers and consumers will have a role in dealing with this in the future. I asked for this report so we can be better prepared in the future. The recommendations will inform our White Paper that will lay out our plans to deliver affordable, efficient and sustainable water use.”

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency said:

“This year’s drought, despite recent rain in some parts of the country, has been a wake-up call. It has been tough for many farmers and we are working hard to find ways to help them, while also protecting the environment.

“We are better prepared than ever for extreme drought, but there is always more that can and should be done. Our report urges water companies, farmers and other businesses to look again at ways to store water and reduce and share the amount they use.

“Leading companies are already implementing water efficiency plans which will also help reduce their costs and carbon footprint. There is a careful balance to be struck to meet the water needs of businesses, farmers, households and the environment and everyone has a part to play.”

 

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River Avon oil spill costs company over £31,500

 

08-Jul-2011

Yesterday (Thursday 7 July 2011), at Worcester Magistrates Court, Dawn Foods Limited pleaded guilty to two charges that resulted in the pollution of the River Avon in June 2010.

Dawn Foods Limited, the manufacturers of baked goods, based in Worcestershire, were fined £23,500 and ordered to pay £7,950 in costs.

The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 and Control of Pollution (Oil storage) Regulations 2001.

On 6 June 2010, Environment Agency officers attended a report of oil on the River Avon near to Sankey Marina, Evesham. Oil was present in large patches across the width of the river which was between 30 and 35 metres wide. The Environment Agency placed a pollution control boom on the river in order to collect and contain the spill. Investigations confirmed that Dawn Foods Ltd were the source of vegetable oil (rapeseed oil) entering the watercourse.

Dawn Foods Limited reported a spill of approximately 5,000 litres of rapeseed oil at their premises at Worcester Road to the Environment Agency. They indicated that a bund in place around the oil tank had not contained the leak. As a result, approximately 800 litres entered the River Avon. Upon investigation, Environment Agency officers noted that the oil had escaped from a storage tank via a flexible pipe, fixed in place with a jubilee clip, which had become detached. The use of a jubilee clip is not an industry recognised practice. The oil had leaked into company’s surface water drains and discharged into the surface sewer and ultimately into the River Avon.

Up to two miles of the River Avon was affected by the oil slick between the premises of Dawn Foods Limited and Fladbury. Two swans and a duck had to be removed and treated by Bishopswood Swan Rescue for oil contamination. The duck was so badly oiled it couldn’t fly.

A representative of Dawn Foods Ltd attended formal interview under caution on 16 July 2010. They company admitted that that the oil in the river was their vegetable oil from their storage tank.

In passing sentence, the Court took into account the fact that the company had no previous convictions, they cooperated fully with the Environment Agency, they had borne the clean up costs and had pleaded guilty at an early opportunity.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency spokesperson said "This incident could have been avoided if the company had properly considered the environmental risks associated with their business activities. Dawn Foods Limited had poor knowledge of their own site drainage. They did not have a plan of what to do in the event of a spillage at the site and unfortunately this resulted in the pollution incident and today’s court appearance.”

Businesses need to be aware of the potential costs to the environment, their finances and reputation should a pollution incident such as this occur. Having an Accident or Pollution Incident Management Plan detailing the actions to be taken in such circumstances, will help to minimise impact of the environment.

To help businesses avoid and deal with pollution incidents, the Environment Agency has a range of advice and guidance on their website at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/pollution/32252.aspx

Members of the public are asked to report pollution incidents, or sightings of dead/struggling fish in their local watercourse, to the Environment Agency’s Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

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Review of the Hydropower Good Practice Guidelines

The Environment Agency have started a consultation into the current Hydropower Good Practice Guidelines published in 2009.
The document has been produced by the Environment Agency with the support of the Hydropower Working Group. The Group brings together key representatives from interest groups and partners to secure the delivery of hydropower across England and Wales in an environmentally sustainable way.
The new consultation can be found here
Existing Guildlines can be found here
Closing date for submissions is 23/09/2011
Information on all Thames Hydropower projects, Anglers and Hydropower
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Why London needs the Tideway Tunnel

Today has seen the release of a comprehensive report by Thames Water into the reasons why London needs the Thames Tunnel or 'Super Sewer' as it is called.

The report lays in out full the fact why the tunnel is crucial and the impact raw sewage overflows have on the river. There are on average in excess of 60 significant sewerage incidents a year and are becoming more frequent. With longer drier periods followed by heavy rainfall, the situation can only get worse.
On the 6th June 2011 the Tidal Thames saw the biggest sewage overflow in nearly a decade and the Environment Agency suggests more than 26000 fish may have been killed. Following a sustained dry period, the capital saw around 30 mm of rain fall causing the Combined Sewage Overflows to discharge nearly half a million tonnes of untreated effluent into the river causing oxygen levels to fall. Thames Anglers Consevancy members arrived at the river to find thousands of fish gasping for air and the foreshore littered with the remains of many aquatic species. Little was spared the devastation from this single incident.
The crash of dissolved oxygen levels was further exacerbated by the discharge being at low tide and little natural flow coming over Teddington Weir.
Since the 6th June there have been a further five discharges of sewage into the Tidal Thames, one on the 16th June, an irony not lost on many as the start of the traditional fishing season.
Thames Anglers Conservancy spokesman said:
'We welcome today's report from Thames Water as it highlights many reasons why the Tunnel must be built without delay. In a modern capital city it is unacceptable that raw sewage is still put into the Thames creating a serious health hazard for all river users and severely impacting fish stocks and all aquatic life. With the ongoing threat of Thames Hydropower schemes further reducing the natural flow, action is needed now. We would like to thank the Environment Agency fisheries team for their action during the recent incident and since.'

Notice to editors:

The Thames Anglers Conservancy is a free to join organization and is a consultative member of the Angling Trust for Thames between Staines and Dartford.
As a Thames Angling stakeholder, we are involved with many organizations including the Environment Agency, river user groups and local councils.
We are concerned with many aspects of the Thames including the threat of Hydropower, loss of fishing rights and pollution along with the positive aspects of promoting angling and its benefits.
For more information go to www.rivertac.org or email admin@rivertac.org
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Environment Agency Fish rescue in drought

EA Press Release 29-Jun-2011
Hundreds of fish are being removed from a Lincolnshire river as the drought continues despite recent spells of rainfall.
The Environment Agency will be relocating the fish from the Upper River Slea, which is currently experiencing low water levels as a result of the drought.
Fish will be removed from a stretch of river between Cogglesford Mill downstream to Bone Mill Bridge, near to the A17 bypass. An area of the Upper Slea close to the South Kyme is also being closely monitored so action can be taken immediately if dissolved oxygen levels drop.
As well as protecting fish in the Upper Slea, the Environment Agency is also currently working to maintain water levels through the town of Sleaford itself via its Slea Augmentation Scheme – which was switched on 20 May. Cogglesford Mill is at the end of the length of river that benefits from the Slea river support scheme.
Reuben Page, Fisheries, Recreation and Biodiversity Technical Officer, said: “Water levels on this stretch of the River Slea are very low at the moment and although the fish are not currently in distress, we are acting now to prevent potential problems. The river has dried up downstream of Cogglesford Mill during previous drought periods so taking this action now is a sensible precaution.
“It’s important we intervene as early as possible to minimise the impact of low water levels and low dissolved oxygen levels and we are continuing to urge anyone who sees fish that may be in distress to contact us.”
Species of fish that will be removed from the river include chub, dace, roach, pike, perch and trout.
They will be caught by electro-fishing, a technique that temporarily stuns fish and allows them to be netted and transferred to a transport tank. Once water levels in the Slea return to normal, Environment Agency officers will restock as necessary.
The fish are being relocated from the River Slea today.
Anyone who sees fish they believe may be in distress as a result of low water levels or pollution,  should contact the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
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TAC Desborough Island Clean up

Volunteers from the Thames Anglers Conservancy gave up a few hours on the hottest Sunday of the year to help clean up an area at Walton.
Desborough Island is high up on a list of regular areas that the TAC visit, there is a major rubbish problem during the summer.
Volunteers walked the entire reach pulling out all manner of rubbish whilst at the same time engaging with members of the public and anglers alike.
The final result was they collected a duvet, a beanbag, a large boat cushion, a coat, large Elmbridge council plastic banner, an 8ft x 3tf felt and plywood roof, an estate agents sign, plastic piping, a metal basket, nine bin bags filled with litter and more.
Hot but smiling, thanks for your efforts.
TAC
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100 per cent success for EA rod licence checks

Last week, Midlands Fishery Enforcement Officers took to the River Avon in a canoe to check rod licences.
The patrol along the River Avon at Pershore marked the opening of the new coarse fishing season on rivers. Officers checked 30 licences along the River Avon and were pleased to report back that all 30 anglers had valid licences with them.
Team Leader Al Watson said "This method enables us to cover both banks at once. Foot patrols cover one bank at a time. In the time taken to cross to the other bank an offender can be packed up and gone. On this occasion, all anglers had a valid licence with them, but this is not always the case.”
Anglers are reminded to make sure that they have a valid rod licence before they go fishing. Costs are held at last years prices (£27 per adult for a full year) and are available from Post Offices, on-line at our website www.environment-agency.gov.uk or by telephone (0844 800 5386).
Reports of poachers' set-lines and traps have been on the increase. "The canoe gets us up-close to the vegetation to spot set-lines that are almost impossible to detect from the bank" said Al. "Anybody who notices suspicious activity should call us immediately on 0800 807060 and give us as much information as possible. A good report gives us a much greater chance of catching poachers". 
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