Tuesday, 03 August 2010 20:25

Yorkshire Water Pays up for Wharfe Pollution


Yorkshire Water has paid over £20,000 in compensation to two Yorkshire fishing clubs following a series of sewage pollutions in 2006.

Fish Legal Fishing NewsPoorly-treated trade effluent was released from the Tadcaster sewage treatment works into the River Wharfe near Ulleskelf causing the death of thousands of fish including eels, roach, perch, chub, dace, pike, barbel, bream, carp and flounder.

The river at this point is tidal and usually holds a wide variety of species but has for years suffered from discharges from the works.
Fish Legal, the legal arm of the Angling Trust in England, made a claim on behalf of the Tadcaster Angling & Preservation Association and the Leeds & District Amalgamated Society of Anglers, whose fishing was severely affected by the pollution.

Justin Neal, Head Solicitor at Fish Legal, commented, “Yorkshire Water was finally prosecuted several years after the pollution, and we had to wait to see the case file from the Environment Agency to begin our civil action against the polluter. I am pleased to see that, despite the wait, the fishing clubs have now been compensated for the damage which was caused to their fishery. Whereas the prosecution by the Environment Agency might have been important on a punitive level, it was only through civil action that the clubs were able to recoup the cost of returning this fishery to its pre-pollution state. It highlights the importance of the ability of Fish Legal to act on behalf of fishing clubs to restore and improve the aquatic environment.”

Chris Burton, the Honorary Secretary of the Tadcaster Angling & Preservation Association, welcomed the settlement. “I have lived in Tadcaster all my life and fished the River Wharfe for 56 years. I have fished all the sections of water from Tadcaster Weir to Ulleskelf and have seen many changes on the river. But, in this 56 year period, I have never seen a fish-kill on the scale that I witnessed in 2006. This has been devastating for the club but we hope now that we will be able to put the compensation money towards habitat work in conjunction with Leeds & District Amalgamated Society of Anglers and the Environment Agency to enable the river to recover naturally. We would like to thank the staff at Fish Legal for all their help and guidance throughout the claims procedure. I’m sure that without their representation, we would not have had a successful outcome to the case.”

Graham Park, the General Secretary of the Leeds & District Amalgamated Society of Anglers added, “the pollution in 2006 was devastating and the catches became non-existent afterwards. I think the river was hit harder because it was tidal – which means the plug of sewage kept moving up and down the river with the tide when the flows were low. The money we get from the claim will be really important for us to put into improving the habitat. We can work with the Tadcasters and the Environment Agency to create ways of encouraging the fish populations to recover. However, we believe that there has been another recent pollution from the sewage works and until extensive work is carried out by Yorkshire Water, the threat to the river remains. We convey our thanks and support to Fish Legal and the Angling Trust for their efforts in securing this compensation.”

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