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Concern over cattle crossings causing damage to river beds and erosion of banks

21.12.17

Cows in stream

Fish Legal is dealing with an increasing number of cases where farmers have created new crossings over rivers for cattle and machinery. This ultimately leads to severe environmental damage including sedimentation as well as the inevitable erosion of banks and river beds.

At the regulatory level, the Environment Agency appears to be reluctant to take enforcement action in two recent cases on the Taw and Nidd, even where there has been no approval for in-river works and environmental damage including silt-pollution.

However, even if the Agency is not interested in taking enforcement action, those who own fishing rights – whether as riparian owners or holders of the “profit a prendre” to fish or even lease –  can in most circumstances take legal action against the farmer for compensation or even an injunction to stop the continued destruction of the fishery. Such legal action, however, is likely to be expensive and so that is why membership of Fish Legal is so important.
 
This comes at a time when the Environment Agency and Defra are still not complying with their obligations under the Water Framework Directive to ensure that waterbodies are restored to Good Ecological Status or favourable status for rivers which have European Protection. The EA and Defra rely heavily on soft touch voluntary measures to stop practices in farming which affect rivers – but little has been done to enforce against bad practice, including the creation of Water Protection Zones or WPZs.  

Contact: Fish Legal - Eastwood House | 6 Rainbow Street | Leominster | HR6 8DQ | Tel: 01568 620447

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