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Water company taken to court by Cambridge anglers over River Cam pollution

10.09.18

Baits Bite Lock on the River Cam

View of the River Cam above Baits Bite Lock.
Credit: Cambridge Fish Preservation and Angling Society

Fish Legal has started court proceedings against Anglian Water on behalf of its member the Cambridge Fish Preservation and Angling Society following the pollution of the River Cam which killed numerous fish, particularly large bream, on a previously renowned match venue.

A failure at Anglian Water’s Cambridge Sewage Works at Milton led to high levels of ammonia being released into the River Cam at Baits Bite Lock in July 2013. The incident was designated a Category 1 by the Environment Agency who attended – a category reserved for the most serious environmental impact.

At the time of the incident, the Environment Agency’s fisheries officer recorded that he believed “poor water quality had directly impacted on at least 253 fish, with the most affected species being common bream. The affect [sic] on the fishery will be difficult to understand but the potential impact on the angling resource, based purely on the loss of bream...will be felt by the controlling club...”

Following its investigation, however, the Environment Agency did not prosecute Anglian Water.

Fish Legal is suing the water company using the civil law. Anglian Water denies that it is liable for the pollution and the club’s losses.

Graham Tweed, the Club President, said: “I was hopeful that this matter could be settled without court action but that has not been possible. Before the pollution, Baits Bite Lock was one of the club’s most prolific venues on the Cam and it was very popular with members because it is easy to access in comparison with some of our other venues.”

Justin Neal, Solicitor for Fish Legal, said: “With increasing pressures on water quality, water companies need to accept their responsibilities and help to compensate for the damage that is caused when their activities result in pollution. That has not happened here so there has been no alternative but to issue proceedings at court.”

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

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