February 19, 2018
The Angling Trust and Fish Legal have successfully intervened to halt extensive bankside clearance works by the Canal and Rivers Trust (CRT) on the Kennet and Kennet and Avon Canal which were far in excess of what is required to maintain navigation. These were causing huge damage to riverine and canal environment and saw the removal of vital cover for fish and other wildlife on the lower river.
In a letter to CRT we wrote:
"We appreciate the need to maintain a navigable passage, particularly on narrow sections of the canal that are perhaps 14 metres wide. But there is no earthly reason why 35 metre wide stretches of river such as the Kennet at Theale need every bush, branch and twig sheared off level with the edge of the bank. Furthermore, we note that you have left this debris on the bank posing an imminent flood risk."
CRT have responded:
"It was clear from evidence tabled by all concerned that while there are areas of the navigation still in need of significant work to maintain safe and diverse use, there have also been cases of the work being apparently undertaken beyond the minimum needed to achieve the balance we are all seeking on the river, and we agree that this is regrettable
"Ultimately, it is CRTs decision on where the balance of all needs (including the most effective way to achieve desired outcomes) lies. Given the character of the local riverine navigation here and the fact that part of it is SSSI, we agreed that in future on the navigable sections of the River Kennet the principle will be to apply our Standard 1 (14m wide, by 5m high “box”) by both contractors and volunteers; whilst maintaining that for sightlines, bends, or approaches to locks and bridges where the channel may be narrow a “bank to bank” cut will be required (our Standard 2). Where this is the case we will review this with the clubs in advance."
We strongly urge clubs who lease fisheries from CRT to check with their local waterways managers to ensure that they are properly consulted about any planned works and that the specifications issued do not exceed the Standard 1 minimal requirement without good reason. If necessary feel free to quote the precedent set by our intervention on the Kennet.
National Campaigns Manager, Angling Trust
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