Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Environment Agency invests in 220 projects to benefit fisheries [June 2023]

The press release issued by the Environment Agency on 1 June 2023.

Nearly £1 million of rod licence income has been invested to improve fisheries across England in the last year.

Nearly £1 million of rod licence income has been invested to improve fisheries across England in the last year, the Environment Agency announced today (1 June), with 220 projects delivering benefits to anglers and supporting sustainable fish stocks.

Projects supported with £925,000 through the Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP) include creating habitat for coarse fish and trout, and improving angling access facilities so that more people are able to enjoy the sport.

Since FIP was established in 2015, over 1000 projects have been successfully completed, with a total of nearly £7 million reinvested from fishing licence sales alone.

Heidi Stone, Environment Agency Fisheries Manager, said:

The Fisheries Improvement Programme is a great example of how rod licence income is being reinvested, resulting in sustainable fish stocks and directly benefiting angling and local communities. The programme recognises and invests in a wide programme of work to help maintain, improve and develop fisheries.

Looking to the future, we will continue to work with our partners, angling clubs and fisheries to identify and deliver high quality projects, the more people who buy a licence and go fishing, the more we can invest in this way.

Every penny that the Environment Agency receives in fishing licence income is reinvested to protect both the sport of angling and England’s waterways. The FIP funding is also matched by local partners including angling clubs and fisheries and local trusts. Over the last year the total match funding, made up of additional cash and in-kind contributions, is estimated to be early £6.3 million.

The Environment Agency works with organisations such as the Angling Trust and Wild Trout Trust to make sure projects are carried out to their full potential and have the support they need.

Shaun Leonard, Director at the Wild Trout Trust, said:

Money from the Fisheries Improvement Programme has allowed us to do some really good work with angling club members to improve habitats for the wildlife of England’s rivers.

In rivers in Cumbria, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Suffolk and Yorkshire, we’ve fenced out livestock, planted trees, battled problem plants like Himalayan balsam and introduced wood and gravel to create more and varied habitat – all of which benefit the river’s plants, invertebrates, fish and the people who value those places.

Mark Owen, Angling Trust Head of Fisheries, said:

At the Angling Trust we very much support the Environment Agency’s Fisheries Improvement Programme. Funding from anglers’ rod licence income and the resulting work will benefit local anglers and improve fishing opportunities.

We support the process by gathering project ideas from clubs and fisheries for assessment by Environment Agency fisheries officers.

Examples of Projects in 2022/23:

Colwick Holme Sluices, Nottinghamshire:

Holme Sluices near Colwick Country Park in Nottinghamshire is a major flood risk management structure, owned by the Environment Agency, that spans the full width of the River Trent. It is also the largest single barrier to fish migration in the Midlands as the sluice gates maintain different upstream and downstream water levels, leaving fish unable to pass through.

Through the FIP, the project was awarded £50,000 to help with the multi-million pound construction of a deep vertical slot fish pass. The fish pass will be broken up into a series of 21 ascending chambers into which the water flows through narrow slots. All fish species can swim through these slots and rest in the next chamber above before continuing their journey up the pass and into the river.

Construction has already began and the Environment Agency hope to have to have this finished by the end of September so that the River Trent can start to see more fish species and an increase in angling activities.

Silsoe Junior Angling Coaching Lake, Bedfordshire:

Silsoe Angling Club have invested the FIP money on helping to create a brand new angling coaching lake which will be purely dedicated for juniors, disabled anglers and newcomers to the sport. The club currently has 20 angling pegs around its existing lake but due to a growing membership, demand has outstripped supply.

This new lake will create a further 10 pegs which will enable the angling club to increase membership to approximately 100 members and allow for more angling participation events.

ON track new initiative, Lincolnshire:

The ON track new initiative project, supported by the Environment Agency, has been awarded nearly £3,000 to support the buying of materials to create a wheelchair friendly pathway at an angling lake in Friskney. Money has also helped to create easier access fishing platforms for less able-bodied anglers.

ON track recognises the benefits that angling has on mental health and shares the passion that everyone should be able to enjoy the sport with no limitations.

Nutsey Lake, Hampshire:

Nutsey Lake, managed by Test Valley Angling Club, was once one of the best carp fisheries in the country and once held carp in excess of 50lbs. Over the last 30 years the fishery has progressively shallowed due to the build-up of increasing amounts of decomposing leaf litter.

Not only this but Test Valley Angling club has also witnessed increasing episodes of water quality related issues at Nutsey Lake, such as algal blooms, reduced dissolved oxygen levels and subsequent fish mortalities.

Through FIP, £32,000 has been awarded to invest in a series of improvements to the lake. Activities such as the removal of approximately 1000m3 of sediment has been made to improve the water quality within the lake along with the implementation of a tree and terrestrial scrub management programme so that wind/wave action is improved across the water. The lake has also seen a solar aeration system installed so that during periods of prolonged dry weather, dissolved oxygen levels are improved.

Further examples of FIP projects in 2022/23:

  • Sankey Glaze, St Helens – Angling facilities have been improved to enable junior coaching opportunities.
  • Mimram Panshanger Park, Hertfordshire – Funding helped habitat improvements to chalk stream undertaken by the Wild Trout Trust.
  • Ripple and Upton free fishery repairs, River Severn – Existing steps and handrails were replaced to allow a more safer venue for all anglers.
  • Stanborough Lakes and River Lea, North London – The Environment Agency have been working with local angling clubs to upgrade existing fishing platforms.
  • Filston Farm habitat improvement, Kent – Funding helped improve the native trout habitats in the River Kent.
  • Little Avon Fisheries, Bristol – Practical habitat improvements were made to benefit fish stocks and the general biodiversity within Little Avon and its tributaries.

The 2023/24 FIP programme is currently underway and a variety of new and existing projects are currently being allocated funding.