Archive | August, 2013

Good news! Minister listens to anglers.

29 Aug

This week we had positive news when Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced that plans are being drawn up to remove products containing the dangerous insecticide Chlorpyrifos from domestic sale.

Mr Benyon was responding to strong representations from the Angling Trust following last months’ devastating pollution of all invertebrate life along a 15 kms stretch of the Kennet by a tiny amount of Chlorpyrifos which entered the river via the combined sewerage system.

The incident on the Kennet was the latest in a series of scares involving chlorpyrifos, which is regularly used on lawns and golf courses and for treating termites, leatherjackets and frit flies. The same chemical was responsible for wiping out insect life on a large stretch of the River Roding in 1985, the River Wey in 2002 and 2003 and led to a significant number of fish being killed on the River Ouse in Sussex in 2001.

Following the incident on the Kennet, people were advised not to allow water from a stretch between Marlborough and Hungerford to come into contact with their skin. In America the US Environment Protection Agency has placed limits on its domestic use and the chemical was banned outright in Singapore for use in termite control in 2009.

We have been pushing for much tougher controls on how this stuff is sold. This is a product that is supposed be for use by professionals only yet it can be bought on-line by any Tom, Dick or Harry who will then be in possession of an environmental time bomb. It is plain wrong that chlorpyrifos is freely available to everybody for without proper disposal methods it can cause a huge amount of damage to rivers and streams and the wildlife they support.

We are also calling on the government to improve the facilities for the disposal of dangerous chemicals. Up and down the country people will have bottles and tins of all manner of pesticides which, if rinsed out into the drains can be fatal to insects and the birds and fish which feed off them.

The Angling Trust campaign has been picked up by the national media including on BBC 5 Live, BBC South, the Daily Mail, the Times and the Telegraph.

This all just goes to show the benefits of having a unified representative body for all anglers in the country. None of the angling organisations of the past would have jumped on this issue and got action so quickly. We’ve done the same with cormorants, hydropower, angling bans, the Severn barrage, the water framework directive, water company secrecy, poaching, a review of the bass MLS, and countless other issues. Isn’t it time you joined us? Membership is growing steadily, and as a result we’re able to do steadily more for the benefit of all anglers. Get on board today!

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Join our Campaign to Stop Google Ripping Off Anglers

27 Aug

The Angling Trust has continued its high profile campaign against internet rod licence rip-offs and last week we again slammed Google for advertising web sites which take advantage of hard-pressed anglers trying to buy a rod licence by charging them a £20 administration fee for a £27 rod licence, despite offering no additional service whatsoever.

The internet giant had taken down the adverts when the scam was taken up by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, but they have since re-appeared. Searches for “buy rod licence” or “fishing licence” on Google generate a list of results that is headed up with sponsored links to the offending sites – rodlicence.net and rodfishinglicence.com. The only place where anglers should buy a rod licence on-line currently is from www.postoffice.co.uk or alternatively over the counter in a Post Office.

We raised this issue back in March, and we’re very concerned that the sites might be affecting rod licence sales because unsuspecting anglers are finding that the cost of a licence has apparently rocketed when in fact it has been frozen for several years. A government ban on all marketing by its agencies in the past three years hasn’t helped either. This has reversed a decade of steadily-increasing rod licence sales and as a result revenues to the Environment Agency have been decreasing each year for the past two years. Because of the marketing ban, these unscrupulous companies are able to take advantage of anglers trying to buy their rod licence on the internet, and they pay Google a fee for every angler who clicks on one of the sponsored links.

Surely Google makes enough money without having to benefit from a scam that rips off hard-working men and women who are simply seeking to comply with the law and buy a rod licence to support the good work that the Environment Agency does to protect and improve our fisheries? Please join us by urging them to do the decent thing and remove the sponsored links to these appalling sites for good. It is suspicious that the sites were removed when Google’s spokesman was put on the spot on the radio, but then they mysteriously re-appeared a week or so later.

The Government must also lift the senseless marketing ban on the Environment Agency that stops it spending any money to promote licence sales. The rod licence income is vital to funding protection of our fisheries and supporting the work of organisations in the voluntary sector helping to deliver the National Angling Strategy. Anyone who knows anything about business will tell you that if you stop marketing a product, sales will fall, and that is exactly what has happened with rod licences.

Please take a moment to put “buy rod licence” into Google and if you come across these sites being advertised please use the quick and easy “Send feedback” option at the bottom of the screen to let Google know you are not happy to see these scammers being promoted.