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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


16/07/2013 - Yet more Hydropower omnishambles as Environment Agency

Smith was usless as an MP, even more so as Chairman of the EA which isn't fit for purpose. Certainly a wasted quangoe. Another reason for joining the Angling Trust Said Martin James MBE


  Joint Media Release: Angling Trust, Fish Legal, Salmon & Trout   Association, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Buglife and WWF

Angling   and conservation groups have expressed alarm at the continued delay in   properly regulating the use of hydropower turbines on English rivers despite   admissions that the current guidelines for hydropower schemes were 'not fit   for purpose' and risked long-term environmental damage to fish and other   ecology.

At a meeting of   on Thursday 11 July, the Environment Agency (EA) board failed to approve new   Good Practice Guidelines for hydropower developments because of a lack of   evidence provided by the EA executive team to support their recommendations   that higher flow protection standards should be adopted. The Angling Trust,   Fish Legal, Salmon & Trout Association, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Buglife   and WWF have today demanded a moratorium on all new developments until the   necessary evidence has been gathered to enable a decision to be taken to   protect rivers from further damage.

This latest   delay follows years of broken promises and delays with the process of   developing the new guidelines. The meeting was expected to approve the   executives' recommendation to adopt new guidelines which would have reduced   the amount of water that could be diverted from rivers into hydropower   turbines. The proposed guidelines were supported by angling and fisheries   NGOs who have attended more than 20 meetings to help draw them up. Their   position was based on the best available evidence world-wide, including   scores of scientific papers and a review of flow requirements commissioned by   the Agency itself from a renowned expert in the field.

Angling and   fisheries NGOs have repeatedly pressed the Environment Agency, from the Chief   Executive down, to monitor the 100 or so developments that have been approved   to see what impact they have had on fish and other ecology in rivers.   However, all these warnings have been ignored and this has led to the   situation where the EA Board felt it did not have the information necessary   to take a decision to protect the environment. The executives failed to refer   to the considerable body of scientific literature drawn to the Agency's   attention by the NGOs throughout the drawn-out review process.

The NGOs have now written to EA Chairman   Lord Chris Smith who expressed concern at the lack of information   made available to the Board and stated that the bottom line must be   "what is the best option for the environment". The NGOs have   formally called for a moratorium on approving any further hydropower   applications until the new guidelines are in place.

Mark   Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, who attended the   meeting and gave a presentation on behalf of angling and fisheries   organisations, said: "we have repeatedly highlighted the Environment Agency's   shambolic handling of the regulation of hydropower in recent years and this   latest development confirms that it continues to be a complete farce. No   developments should be allowed on our precious rivers, which already suffer   from low flows and diffuse pollution, unless they can be proven to be   environmentally benign. The Environment Agency cannot go on allowing   developers to profit from installing turbines on our rivers without   monitoring their impact, especially as these schemes, once established, will   be there for generations. The Environment Agency simply must take a   precautionary approach and call a halt to developments until they can obtain   the necessary information to support their expert judgement that the current   guidelines are not fit for purpose and are in need of a radical   overhaul."

Paul   Knight, CEO of the Salmon & Trout Association, added; "Surely it is   logical that if the EA Board does not have sufficient evidence available to   ratify the new Good Practice Guidelines, then its staff cannot have the data   on which to licence individual hydropower applications, yet these are still   being granted at an alarming rate. We appreciate the pressure on the EA to   encourage renewable energy schemes. However, low head hydropower will only   ever contribute very limited localised benefit, but has the potential to   significantly damage river ecosystems by depleting water flows, causing   barriers to fish movements and the natural dynamics of rivers, and destroying   habitats for fish and aquatic insects, with a knock-on effect to birds and mammals.   We look to the EA Board to send out a strong message that the aquatic   environment and its dependent species must be protected, not sacrificed for   the political perception that hydropower is a 'green' energy source."


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Martin James Fishing
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