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Sulphuric acid pollution on river Devon

Fish Legal has sent a letter of claim to Scottish Water seeking compensation on behalf of the Devon Angling Association, an angling club member of Fish Legal in Scotland. In January 2014 Scottish Water pled guilty at Alloa Sheriff Court to causing pollution from Glendevon Water Treatment Works due to an incident in July 2011. Scottish Water released up to 12,000 litres of concentrated sulphuric acid into the river Devon in Clackmannanshire, with devastating effects. Fish Legal will now represent its member club in seeking compensation from Scottish Water for the damage caused to the fishery.

Scottish Water admitted to failing to properly maintain the sulphuric acid tank in accordance with recommended practice. The cause of the spill was identified as the severe corrosion of a bolt securing a container holding this toxic substance. The concentrated acid is used by Scottish Water as part of the water treatment process and is highly toxic to fish. The escape of the acid caused extensive damage to the ecology of the River Devon and many dead trout, perch and sticklebacks were observed on the margins of the River Devon as far as 6km downstream of the spill.

Robert Younger of Fish Legal said:

"This appalling pollution incident caused substantial loss of fishing to the anglers of the Devon Angling Association, and Fish Legal will do everything in its power to ensure that Scottish Water takes full responsibility for paying for all the damage caused. This was a careless incident by Scottish Water that could and should have been avoided."

David Mudie of the Devon Angling Association said:

"The 2011 pollution spill caused the total destruction of the native brown trout population over 6 kilometres of the river Devon and even now trout numbers are a shadow of their pre-incident levels. The Association's members have now suffered a substantial loss of fishing opportunity over a number of years and we sincerely hope that Scottish Water address our losses as soon as possible"

William Rundle, Head Solicitor of Fish Legal, said:

“Fish Legal has a long and proud history of successfully representing its members who have suffered the terrible effects of pollution, and will seek to do so again here for the Devon Angling Association. We hope that by securing compensation for the Devon Angling Association we can help it restore its fishery, whilst also serving as a deterrent to future ‘would-be’ polluters. As a not-for-profit membership association we depend on our member clubs, riparian owners and other fishery members’ support in order to do this work for them, but with Fish Legal membership these members can be assured of our determination to get the best result possible for them in their time of need.”

Notes to editors:

1. Fish Legal is a unique, non-profit making organisation which uses the law to fight pollution and other damage to the freshwater and marine environment and to protect the rights of members of Fish Legal, which include fishing clubs, fishery owners, riparians and commercial fisheries. Fish Legal employs its own in-house legal team covering the whole of the UK, including a Scots-qualified lawyer, and is backed by thousands of individual anglers. In England, it acts as the legal arm of the Angling Trust, which is the representative and governing body for all anglers.

2. Contacts: For more information on Fish Legal, please visit, call 01568 620447 or write to: Eastwood House, 6 Rainbow Street, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DQ.

3. Press enquiries: Mark Lloyd 07973 468198 or

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

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