Environment Agency fails to investigate fish kills.
Fish Legal solicitors say they have exposed serious failings at the Environment Agency (EA) in responding to water pollution that kills wildlife.
They discovered that only 134 immediate fish-kill assessments and 40 follow-up surveys out of 839 were completed by the EA over the past six years.
Fish Legal made a freedom-of-information request regarding the EA’s response over the past six years to pollutions that caused fish mortality, to find out the number of fish-kill assessments done immediately after an incident.
William Rundle, head solicitor at Fish Legal, said: “We have been surprised by what appears in the agency data and I have met with the EA head of fisheries to discuss these problems. He has promised to look into the situation himself and bring forward improvements.
“This situation cannot continue, as it appears that even the minimum standard of service required by the EA is not being met.”
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, said: “Without a proper survey, the courts do not have all the information they need to impose tough fines, and polluters use this to argue there has been less damage to fisheries when faced with paying compensation to affected angling clubs. This means that polluters get away without proper punishment and the objective of deterring offenders is not fully achieved. It is, quite frankly, ridiculous that the EA does not carry out full surveys after each and every incident which involves fish going ‘belly up’ in our nation’s precious streams, rivers and lakes.”