Monday, 25 February 2013

Hydropower - Environment Agency Consultation ends March 2nd

This is just a quick, but very important one.  The Angling Trust is urging all anglers out there (AT members or not), to respond to an Environment Agency consultation about their "best practice guidelines" for potentially destructive and controversial Hydropower schemes.  The public can add comments to the consultation without logging in to the EA website, which will help sway decisions made about future legislation imposed upon the operators of these schemes.

This type of electricity-generation scheme looks set to become more widespread in the UK but through both water abstraction and the fish-mincing turbines which are driven by water flow to generate electricity, such schemes pose a massive danger to both resident and migratory fish stocks and the quality & availability of river fishing.

This particular consultation focuses on setting water flow rates & abstraction limits and it's important that angling, fish stocks and other environmental issues are given utmost consideration when setting these limits.  As anglers we need to ensure that opinion swings in this direction, which is why the Angling Trust has offered advice on how to respond to the consultation, to ensure we're all pulling in the same direction. 

Please take a few minutes to read through the information and guidance on the Angling Trust website and follow the link to respond to the EA consultation, which can all be found here:  http://www.anglingtrust.net/news.asp?section=29&sectionTitle=News&itemid=1496

Be quick though, the consultation closes on Saturday 2nd March.

Fish deaths caused by Hydropower turbines

I'm all for us producing "green" energy from non-fossil fuel sources; it's an issue the whole world needs to address immediately, but surely when a means of generating power is damaging to the environment in other ways, it can't be considered "green"!  Killing wildlife, preventing migration, disrupting natural river flows and potentially drying up spawning grounds, in my view is neither "green", "environmentally-friendly" or "sustainable".

As anglers, we need to stand united, vehemently against the construction of these hydropower sites, which produce a preposturously low amount of electricity.  The Environment Agency has identified 26,000 sites nationwide which are suitable for hydropower installations.  So even if you don't think this issue affects you, it WILL be considered at a river near you!  Even if all 26,000 proposed schemes are introduced, their combined output will constitute less than 0.5% of the country's electricity needs!  There are far more viable alternatives which aren't nearly as destructive.


Towards the end of last year the Angling Trust's legal arm, Fish Legal, won a landmark case on behalf of anglers to stop the construction of a hydropower scheme on Sawley weir on the river Trent.  The fishing on this section is controlled by Pride of Derby, of which I've held membership for over a decade.  I'm delighted that Fish Legal were able to take on this case on behalf of the club and its members, and won.  This action alone has justified my Angling Trust membership, which I have taken out every year since the Trust was formed (I was an ACA member for years before that). 

It shows the power and influence that a unified body for angling can use and although everything the Trust does may not be in every anglers' personal interest, the many benefits to angling as a whole are clear to see.

There will be a lot of companies looking to make a lot of money from these hydroschemes so they will be very determined to get them pushed through, but if we are vocal against it and stand together, we can stop them.