After 8 years my time has come to leave my membership of the Broads Authority. Sadly, I leave the authority with its fishery in a far worst state than in 2013, with the here and now activities of Natural England threatening to destroy fish in the name of conservation, leading to the loss of our resident fishery specialist Steve Lane from the Agency. Why Natural England want to focus their efforts in such a short term private lake when the wider long term Broads freshwater ecology is threatened so much, astounds me.
Despite these issues, I’ve met some fantastic people during my time with the Authority, which will continue as friends and colleagues, As I leave the Authority I have challenged the planning process and linkages into environmental planning, with the growth of an additional 48,000 homes in and around Norwich. What does this mean for our waterways in terms of abstraction and waste. Its this very planning process that has brought us to this point.
We are currently responding yet again to the Hoveton EA Environment Permit, which we previous had quashed by court order. If anything, the evidence against the project is even stronger. But again, the EA fails to include its own fisheries objection and evidence to the proposal. BASG has already signed further engagement papers for a future Fish Legal challenge if needed.
Despite my departure from BA, I plan to continue as a Director of BASG, as we have many initiatives we want to pursue and deliver to help sustain the Broads Fishery.
Funding just won’t go away as a critical issue, as can be seen with the recent dialogue with moorings at St Bennetts. It all comes down to somebody has to pay, for the facilities and assets that makes the Broads so accessible to enjoy.
I was looking at the history of fishing in the Broads recently and when back in the 1850’s commercial nets men were taking tonnes of Bream from the Bure, anglers lobbied, subscribed and created the Norfolk Fisheries Preservation Association. This group went on to create the Norfolk and Suffolk Fisheries Act 1877.
This Association was a success, its principal regulations being enforcing the 1877 Act, through water-bailiffs, with power to act in certain defined districts and localities. The costs of such resultant prosecutions being defrayed out of the funds of the Associations income from anglers.
One has to ask, what’s the difference with this to today’s BASG defending angler’s and fisheries rights and issues like Hoveton I ask. When the modern-day statutory body the EA fails to act, despite having circa £500k of rod licence money to support fisheries across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. These are questions I will be putting to EA senior management in the coming weeks.
That’s all for now.