The Thames Anglers Conservancy was founded on the premise of ‘Anglers dedicated to protecting and improving the river Thames’ and the message still holds true today, we support all green initiatives that improve the environment.
Thames Angler's Conservancy Statement: Anglers and Hydropower
The Environment Agency has embraced Hydropower installation proposals on the Thames, even instigating a fast track scheme for developers. We applaud their forward thinking and willingness to help reduce carbons emissions, but they have failed to insist that developers provide comprehensive scientific data that there will be no adverse affects. Nor have they offered it themselves.
Consequently, despite our warm feeling for Green energy we feel that until all the necessary scientific data is available, we are unable to support Hydropower developments on the Thames.
We are encouraging the Environment Agency to remedy this problem, preferably at the expense of the developers, not the taxpayer and we are also exploring avenues of gaining the baseline study data ourselves.
The Angling Trust and Hydropower
The Angling Trust is aware of the projected effects of climate change on our fisheries and supports the drive towards a lower carbon future. But this cannot be at the expense of the river environment and our fisheries. Run-of-river hydropower, where schemes have no stored water and only use the immediately available flow, is a low carbon source of energy and the Trust recognises its benefits, tiny though they are, but also the potential impacts. The Environment Agency is in a difficult position as it is directed by Government to promote sustainable development, including sources of renewable energy, as well as the duty to protect the environment and, for example, maintain, improve and develop all fisheries. The Trust feels it has got the current balance wrong with its approach towards hydropower, and has been campaigning for a review of the EA’s “Good Practice Guide” to hydropower developers. This, at last, is now in progress and there will be a public consultation commencing in July and encourage all Thames anglers to respond.
The TAC is rightly concerned about the proliferation of schemes being promoted on Thames weirs. The EA owns the weir infrastructures and are actively seeking expression of interest from hydro developers. Thames anglers understand how important these unique weirpool habitats are not only as an angling resource but especially as principal spawning sites for such as barbel, chub and dace. Diverting the majority of the water through turbines not only deprives the weir but also reduces the energy of the water. This must have a drastic impact on the weirpool fishery and effect many species, yet the EA are promoting these schemes without a clue as to their impact. The Angling Trust have called on the EA to suspend this programme until the impacts are understood and have written to the Agency’s Chief Executive Paul Leinster. The response was unsatisfactory and a further letter has been sent seeking further explanation.
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