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Anglers have reacted with dismay to the news that Severn Trent Water is to close Draycote Reservoir to all angling until further notice. Severn Trent claims that the closure is due to the planned redevelopment of the visitors’ centre at the reservoir, but planning permission has not yet been agreed for the work. The company is not restricting access to other users during the period of the works; sailing, birdwatching and walking will all still be allowed.

Angling Trust Fishing NewsAnglers are very concerned that when the work is finished, the Company will stop angling on large parts of the reservoir, as they did at Foremark Reservoir early in 2009, for what were widely regarded as spurious ‘health and safety’ reasons.

Thousands of anglers fish the reservoir each year and they are furious that this decision was made without consultation – mirroring what happened at Foremark. Severn Trent makes much of the fact on its web site that it has a CAREAG (Conservation, Access, Recreation & Education Advisory Group) with which it is meant to consult, but this group was not advised of the plans until they were finalised. The Angling Trust is calling on the Company to admit that it has failed in its corporate responsibility to the community.

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said: “As the National Governing Body for angling, we are outraged that this huge water company is banning all angling without any consultation, not even with its loyal customers. Our research shows that many more people would go fishing if there were more access to waters. Anything which reduces access is therefore bad news, and disastrous for people living near the reservoir who rely on it for their fishing as well as those hotels and B&Bs which supply overnight accommodation to anglers visiting the water.”
The Angling Trust is writing to Tony Wray, the Chief Executive of Severn Trent demanding a meeting to discuss the situation and the Company’s future attitude to angling. The Trust will also be asking the Government why there is no organisation with responsibility for regulating water companies’ responsibilities with regard to provision of recreation.

The Angling Trust works alongside the Angling Development Board which is funded by Sport England to grow and sustain participation in angling. The disastrous decision at Draycote will impact on the two organisations’ work in this area and will decrease the social and economic benefits of such a major fishery to the local community. Anglers travel from all over the country to fish Draycote and the ban means that they will no longer be spending money in the area around the reservoir.

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