Please follow the link to read our October Newsletter OCT 2017 Club
Our Annual General Meeting takes place on 8th November all members are welcome
Please follow the link to read our October Newsletter OCT 2017 Club
Our Annual General Meeting takes place on 8th November all members are welcome
The UK is 30 to 40 years away from “the fundamental eradication of soil fertility” in parts of the country, the environment secretary Michael Gove has warned.
“We have encouraged a type of farming which has damaged the earth,” Gove told the parliamentary launch of the Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA). “Countries can withstand coups d’état, wars and conflict, even leaving the EU, but no country can withstand the loss of its soil and fertility.
“If you have heavy machines churning the soil and impacting it, if you drench it in chemicals that improve yields but in the long term undercut the future fertility of that soil, you can increase yields year on year but ultimately you really are cutting the ground away from beneath your own feet. Farmers know that.”
Arguing that farmers needed to be incentivised to tackle both the loss of soil fertility and the decline in biodiversity, Gove said that he hoped the SSA, a new body formed with the mission of bringing UK soils back to health within one generation, would hold the government to account and bring him ideas and inspiration. “We are listening to you now and it’s critical that we do so.”
Gove’s speech on Monday afternoon came as UK farmers anxiously wait to see if Brexit will take them out of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, and if so, what will take its place. Defra is currently working on a new agricultural bill and is simultaneously drawing up a 25-year environmental plan. Gove promised both would reflect the concerns of the SSA.
There has been a spike in awareness of the impact that intensive farming techniques are having on the world’s soils and its biodiversity. In 2014 Sheffield University researchers said that UK farm soils only had 100 harvests left in them, and a year later a UN spokesperson warned that at current rates of degradation, the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years. “It feels as if soil is now a hot topic,” said Helen Browning, head of the Soil Association. Meanwhile a new German study has revealed that numbers of flying insects have fallen by up to three quarters. Intensive farming techniques that encourage the heavy use of fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides are believed to be major factors in these problems.
The UK has a poor record in this area. The government has not been conducting regular soil monitoring since the last Countryside Survey in 2007, and in 2012 UK ministers helped block a critical EU soil health directive. Even a year ago, experts such as Peter Stevenson at Compassion in World Farming felt there was no real appetite for reform of intensive farming.
But environmentalists are now increasingly hopeful that, unlike his predecessors at Defra, Gove will take this issue seriously. In July he said that the UK would not move towards “US-style farming” and would prioritise “high environmental and animal welfare standards”. “There’s been quite a dramatic shift in understanding around what we’re doing to our soils,” said Browning. “Everyone is quite bowled over by some of the comments that Michael Gove is making.”
Gove, as one of the leaders of the leave campaign, has a huge stake in making post-Brexit environment and agriculture policy a success, and key farming organisations appear to be shifting their positions on soil issues. The National Farmers Union, who were present at the event, have long been defenders of intensive farming. But three years ago they set up an environment forum, and yesterday its chair Mark Pope said that he is seeing a surge of interest and support for these issues from NFU members. In a blog published on the NFU website earlier in the week, Pope wrote: “We only get one lot of soil on our farms, so poor management could have major, irreversible impacts for many years to come.”
“There is a groundswell of interest in this, a terrific opportunity,” said Rebecca Pow MP, parliamentary private secretary to Michael Gove. Pow was brought up on a farm and worked as a journalist specialising in the environment, food and farming before becoming an MP in 2015, and she has been an energising force around the issue of soil and sustainable farming in parliament. “I voted remain,” she said yesterday. “But nevertheless, there is an opportunity here that we wouldn’t have had before.”
“The UK used to be the world’s leading agronomic centre, and could be again,” argued Tim Smit, the founder of the Eden Project. He wants to see “a new agricultural revolution”, elevating agronomy – the science of soil and crops – to a better respected profession, and turning the UK back into a world leader in soil and farming expertise.
TRANSCRIPT OF PLENARY @ SENNEDD Tues Oct 17 2017
Please find below the transcript from the recent Plenary session. Questions put to the Minister. A clear indication that the angling lobby can work, we must keep the pressure on and have contact with ALL AM’s.
Director for Wales
Tel: 07825337978 / 01550777997
Join us here https://www.countryside-alliance.org.uk/ca/join.php
I have uploaded to the Access page several responses to the current access consultation called by the Welsh Assembly Government follow this link to the page https://www.mtaa.co.uk/access/
“For immediate release – Friday 22nd September 2017
Fishing industry concerns raised with Government
Plaid Cymru shares fishing restriction fears of Carmarthenshire anglers
Carmarthenshire anglers were the focus of questions in the National Assembly this week as local AM Adam Price raised concerns against
proposals to introduce restrictions on the Towy and Teifi rivers. The proposals from Natural Resources Wales (NRW), which are currently
out for consultation, include a complete ban on bait fishing and a 100% catch and release policy in an attempt to combat dwindling levels of
salmon, sewin and sea trout – moves a number of local angling clubs and associations say will devastate the industry.
Questioning the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Plaid Cymru AM Mr Price told the Minister that the
proposals do not address all of the reasons for these dwindling stock levels, and that many anglers believe Natural Resources Wales is only
looking at the easiest target.
Responding to the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM, Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths noted that the fishing industry is worth £100million
to the Welsh economy, and agreed it was vital that the views of local fishers were taken into consideration.
Speaking after his question, Adam Price AM said:
“I have been contacted by several angling clubs raising their concerns about the negative effect that the NRW proposals – most notably the
complete ban on bait fishing and a 100% catch and release policy – will have on their clubs. Fishing isn’t just a hobby, of course. It is a
vitally important industry in my constituency, and across Wales.
“Pollution, changes in the seas and birds of prey all have an influence in the dwindling stock numbers of these fish. Local anglers therefore
see the NRW proposals as the easiest solution to a problem that has many more contributing factors.
“My question to the Cabinet Secretary was to emphasise that anglers have very real fears and want those fears heard right at the heart of
“Natural Resources Wales must look comprehensively at all causes of dwindling stock levels and not just target anglers.”
Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Jonathan Edwards added:
“Most if not all anglers and their societies have voluntary catch and release policies. They know the value of stock levels to the long term
sustainability of their hobby and industry.
“It is imperative that the Welsh Government doesn’t allow anglers to be the easy target by Natural Resources Wales. Simply targeting anglers
without looking at all contributing factors is a sticking plaster solution and will do little to get to the heart of the problem. I can assure local anglers and their associations that we will be keeping a very close eye on these proposals to ensure they are fair and proportionate.”
Mr. W.G. Davies: Chairman. 3 Blanche Street,
E mail:W.GARY.DAVIES@sky.com Dowlais,
Ms Lesley Griffiths AM. AC. Environment Secretary.
Mr Carwyn Jones AM. AC First Minister
Mr Andrew R T Davies AM. Leader Welsh Conservatives.
Ms Leanne Wood AM. Leader Plaid Cymru.
Ms Kirsty Williams AM. AC. Leader Welsh Lib Dems.
Mr Niel Hamilton AM. Leader UKIP
Ms Dawn Bowden AM.
Ms Janet Finch Saunders AM.
Dear Ms Griffiths,
Having read through the consultation document on ACCESS I feel the need to contact you with my particular interest in the property rights of the owners of inland water.
I have written to you in the past about this subject so I see no point of repeating myself on principles, but to address a different but related matter.
I presume you are aware that Ms Jane Davidson put in being the Splash fund which in total amounted to £2.5 million, the aim of which was to enable the paddlers and anglers to negotiate an ACCESS agreement across Wales. This started well with a trusted person as main facilitator (Andy Schofield) of Natural Resources Wales. Unfortunately he left and the facilitator went under the auspices of Matt Strickland (also of NRW) and it seemed he was assisted by an officer of Canoe Wales.
On the face of things it would appear that the fund was administered fairly, apart from the fact that NO negotiations ever took place, At the end of the life of the fund, Matt Strickland finished with the NRW as did the Canoe Wales officer leave his post?
A short while afterwards, I requested freedom of information on the Splash Fund. The report was glowing (naturally) until the report was read and made suitable for examination. Also I obtained a document from Afonydd Cymru which outlined the method of discussion with round table participants. The result in my opinion indicates that there are some contentious issues regarding the way the fund was used.
I have read the full report and the only mention of access to rivers, access being either the provision of an access and egress point with permission , was by the Wye Usk Foundation. I cannot find any evidence of any negotiations over access (the ostensible purpose of the Fund in the first place), but I found many thousands of pounds for the purchase of BOATS, BOAT TRAILERS, ERECTION OF SLIP WAYS IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT, WEEDING A LAKE. The list goes on. (Copy available)
On this basis why are your Civil Servants still bending over backwards to insist that there is a need for more access of all kinds needed in Wales.
This leads me onto the fact that Welsh Government requested/demanded that Dwr Cymru made their reservoirs available to paddlers. That company complied with this and provided launching points on certain reservoirs (Pontsticill was one) but with the provision that the paddlers paid a fee which could be had from Brecon Beacons National Park. I was privy to the fact that one year Dwr Cymru was paid £1500, this by adventure groups. No private group/person was recorded using the facility. The question. “Why no usage by canoes”, was put to the canoe executive at the Cardiff workshop. His response was, “People will not use the reservoirs because of the restrictions placed on them”. What a shame considering other users must follow the rules laid down (example – yacht club) by the company, and of course pay for the privilege.
At no point since 2010 has the Assembly followed through on the report that passed that it carried out certain measures to improve access. It now transpires that it is felt that the taking of property rights from ordinary people ie Fishing Rights is the way to go. At no time has there been any analysis or constructive dialogue with the owners and it appears that the taking of property rights something akin to what has happened in third world countries is now going to be a policy in Wales. Thousands of people(of all ages) did not invest their money, time and labour; for government to take and give away (to approx 1200 Welsh members plus some 2000 affiliated members of Canoe Wales) their rights.
Please note my Association MERTHYR TYDFIL AA (membership of approx 800 members – junior and senior) owns some 80 acres of land and 20 miles of salmon, trout and coarse fishing rights and freely gives access (after 50 years of hard work – also we upgraded approx 2 km of the Taff Trail) by revocable invitation to the public individually, so long as they individually respect our nature reserves. As for access we look for the common courtesy to be asked to use our facilities, in other words an access AGREEMENT which has been sought BY Anglers/Owners and Welsh Government since the inquiry in 2009/2010. Unfortunately one side would NOT talk.
There have been a couple of agreements (Coleg Gwent) and from information received there was a possibility for more if groups had not been coerced not to take part due to loss of insurance.
I was fortunate to attend every session and I can recall one of the committee stating to canoe Wales that they wanted everything and all for NOTHING.”
Which is entirely different when considered that anglers pay for rent/lease/purchase and maintenance of banks and footpaths?
I was also privileged to receive an embargoed copy of the 2009/10 inquiry findings.
Welsh Government is prepared to fund the paddling group despite the fact that there are in excess of 1.2 million?? (So we are told UK wide). With that number surely a modest amount would suffice to restrict the public monies given on an annual basis (£200k minimum pa to canoe Wales). I also find it strange that there are NO magazines available to paddlers ( I have trolled magazine shelves for months and not found any) whereas angling has a plethora to choose from, as do all other sporting activities,, which indicates a good profit to be made in the trade. Why not canoes? Perhaps they cannot afford the purchase price.
How unfair that Wales is to be turned into a “COLLECTIVE THEME PARK”, and the rights of a sizeable section of the Welsh electorate in every part of Wales trampled upon; in the name of what? Whatever it is, it’s oppressive and not worthy of a Labour administration.
W G Davies (Gary)
I am concerned as Chairman of Angling Cymru about information now coming to light regarding the Splash Funding for Access to Inland Water set up by Jane Davidson when she was Environment Minister until 2011.
I sat on the Round Table discussion Group that was set up, and the setting up of the splash fund was billed as a way of getting voluntary access agreements on Inland water. At that time, and it still is, there is only a one way street in respect of access agreements in that riparian and fishery owners are struggling to find any group that respects the need for access to be shared.
My concern in looking at published figures is that other than exemplar agreements such as the Wye Usk and some on inland lakes and reservoirs the funding seems to have been spent on many questionable projects that had no bearing on the original setting up of the fund.
Tony Rees MBE
Chairman Angling Cymru
Angling Trust and Fish Legal Response to the Proposals
European Eel Populations in a Parlous State
Friday 22nd September, 2017
Last week we sent out an e-news urging you to respond to a Welsh Government consultation on open access to our rivers. This week, it’s a petition to DEFRA, the UK government and the European Union for a precautionary short-term closure on the commercial export of internationally-endangered European juvenile eels taken from their home waters.
The Severn estuary has long supported a commercial fishery for elvers – juvenile eels migrating from their birthplace in the Sargasso Sea. In some years the amount taken from the estuary has been as high as 50 tonnes. Most elvers are destined for far eastern markets where they are a delicacy, with over 300 million of them exported there in the past few years from UK waters. In the same period, a further 300 million have been exported to Scandinavia, Russia and other European countries for stocking purposes. And these are just the legal catches.
European Eel populations have fallen by 95% over the last 25 years. This year’s elver fishing season ended in May with the total catch from the Wye (part of the Severn estuary fishery) amounting to just 1 kilo. In the Lugg and Arrow catchment, two eel traps caught 187 silver eels (migrating adults) in 1988. Since then there has been a steady decline with the traps catching just 2 eels between them in 2014 and nothing in 2015.
This worrying situation has led the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to place the European Eel on their red list. However, licences to catch elvers for export are still being issued by the Environment Agency.
This species has been part of our aquatic landscape for millennia and they are crucial to the ecology of our rivers. Eels are an important food source for many predatory fish, along with aquatic birds and mammals such as otters. Without them, these predators will put more pressure on other prey species and/or decline in numbers themselves.
On Tuesday next week, WUF trustee Tony Norman will be delivering the petition to No.10 Downing Street. In the meantime, we urge everyone to support him by signing it. Also, please encourage anyone you know to sign it too.
All the best from WUF.
The petition can be found here.
Result for 3rd September on Sophies Pond Redhill Fishery
1st Jason Woodford 154lbs 4oz
2nd Clive Jayne 110lbs
3rd Doug Hawkins 104lb 12oz
Result for 17 September on Cyfarthfa Park Lake
1st Clive Jayne 41lb 11oz
2nd Dave Couzens 17lb 12oz
3rd Jason Woodford 4lbs 10oz
|Dear Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru Supporter,
As agreed by the core SACC team I am forwarding the link to the Countryside Alliance’s e-lobby response to Welsh Government’s consultation “Taking Forward Wales” with specific reference to Chapter 4, Access.
|The letter opposes some aspects of the proposals particularly the proposal to allow open access to all inland water in Wales. Please do sign the e-lobby which is sent directly to the response team, the Minister as well as an Assembly Member. If you do not reside in Wales, there will not be the option to copy to an Assembly Member however your support still counts.
Please pass this on to those you think will support and encourage everyone to sign. Share with friends and social media, twitter and facebook, spread the message far and wide. Individual responses to this consultation are also extremely important, please do take time if you can, to write personally to the response team.
In the meantime, please do sign and promote the e-lobby.
Thank you sincerely for your support, it is vital that the numbers in support are far greater than the last consultation so sign today, it is more than achievable when we all stand together. Thank you.
On behalf of SACC
Director for Wales, Countryside Alliance
This is a message from the owner of Great Outdoors regarding an event which included canoeing, cycling and running along our stretch of the canal at brecon, please be aware.
This is just to let you know that we are holding a multi-discipline challenge event from Brecon on Saturday 2nd September 2017. Between 10:00-16:30 there is likely to be more runners / cyclists than normal using the towpath between Brecon and Talybont-on-Usk. And during the same period participants will be kayaking on the canal between the following two points…
These details are provided so your members know in advance about our event, and can plan accordingly if they should wish to do so.
Follow the above link for the Wild Trout Trust Summer Newsletter always an interesting read.
I have uploaded a petition, which our Chairman is strongly supporting, about Access. The Countryside Alliance petition is in response to the Welsh Assembly Government once more opening the rivers and lakes to anyone and everyone to swim, canoe, etc in the Rivers, Lakes and Ponds for free. We as fishermen are severely restricted in where we can fish and to fish anywhere we have to pay, through either a rod licence or day/season permits. If we lose we will still be paying and everyone else will be using waters that we fish for free. Please sign the petition it only takes a few moments and costs nothing but we need your signature
Cyfarthfa Park continues to fish well as shown on our facebook page where one young angler had 17 runs when fishing for carp and landed 15 carp. Although the river is low, it has been fishing well especially during the evening. However, this recent rain should mean a little extra water in the river and the fishing should improve even more so.
On Wednesday 5 Jul 7 Schools competed to become inter-schools champions 2017. In a keenly fought contest the youngest team won. Ysgol-y-Graig won with 3lbs 9oz, 2nd was Heolgerrig with 3lb 7oz and 3rd was Gellifaelog with 2lb 14oz.
Ysgol-y-Graig winning team were:
LADIES COMPETITION ON THE CANAL NEAR THE WOODEN HORSE
The ladies fished the wooden horse part of the canal and all had a tremendous days fishing.
TOP POND POACHERS AND RUBBISH LEFT BY ANGLERS?
On Sunday Keith Jones did his usual litter picking around top and middle ponds and this is what he found, surely its not too much to ask for anglers to take there litter home with them its a dam sight lighter than when they carried it up to the pond. The fire remains are after some poachers who were moved on by Keith, Malcolm and Rhys thankfully at no cost to themselves. The two carp were found and removed from the neck of the pond
Paul Phillips and his grandson Jayden practised for the forthcoming junior match* last Sunday afternoon up the park, they practised using the method feeder.
I think the smiles speak for themselves.
*Junior match to be fished on Cyfarthfa Park Lake on Saturday 1 July draw 9am fish 9.30am to 12.30. All Juniors are welcome
A senior competition was held on the Brecon Canal below the Aquaduct at Brynach Lock on Sunday 25th June
1st Jason Woodford with 7lb 12oz
2nd Dave Couzens 5lb 7oz
3rd Peter O’Sullivan 5lb 1oz
4th John Coombs 3lb 11oz
The competition held on Cyfarthfa Park Lake was won by Clive Jane with a winning weight of 34lbs 4oz fishing from peg 8
2nd was Clive Saunders with 13lbs 13oz fishing from peg 28
3rd Brian Hayes with 13lbs 2oz fishing from peg 32
4th Dai Couzens with 12lbs 3oz fishing from peg 14
The next competition will be on the canal below the lock at Brynach on Sunday 25th June
The ladies competition which was to be held today was cancelled.