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  1. #1

    Default EA RECREATION Policy

    Hello Chaps,

    How many of you are aware of the new policy of the EA towards recreational sports in rivers, below is their policy, It is causing some conflict on my local river Dearne and as such we are campaigning against it.

    The Environment Agency’s Access policy states that it will “promote sustainable increased access where it will not adversely impact on existing uses and users, or the economic, environmental and conservation value of the site, and associated area, now or in the future. Subject to resources, we will encourage access where managed solutions can be found to remove adverse impacts.”

    As Dearne anglers we have to now put up with a new 45 acre lake adjacent to the river which the canoe club wish to use for all their activities. They are activley looking to gain access from the lake itself into the river thereby destroying easy access swims.

    any help would be good


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Domus in colle Lincolnshire Wolds
    Blog Entries


    Andy ,it's unclear where the lake comes into this, are Dearne anglers being crowded off he lake and potentially the river or, do the canoists have the use of the lake to themselves, and now want use of the river too?

  3. #3


    Fred , the lake was re dug around 4/5 years ago from an existing lake which was fished locally by anglers, then the lake was tiny in comparison. its now 45acres and run by Manverswaterfront boat club.

    They have a web site and with help from the BCU have built a rather posh new club house.

    Prior to the club taking over the lease the lake was fished freely by anglers, now a fee of 12 per year is chargeable , which I suspect is not too bad , the fishing can be hard but offer some chance of a quality fish.

    However the issue is with the dearne that runs within a 150 yards or so of the river , the propaganda spewed out by the club and EA would lead anyone to think that they intend to have the river used for canoeing. The EA propaganda talks about opening up the lake to the river.
    The canoe club intend to use the river whereever possible and to seek planning for canoe access points all along the river from Darfield in Barnsley to Denaby in Doncaster through to its confluence with the Don.

    The River Don catchment trust is also aware of this issue and braced for a fight.

    The river is small averging 12.15 yards wide , shallow and high banked.

    The canoeists have already had a recce trip down it to check out the possibilty out canoe lanuch sites all along the river to the Don.

    The EA now claim their rec recreational policy now covers all sports and not just angling have a duty wherever possible to allow these to happen.

    Fred , its the thin end of the wedge with the dearne, if they get on , no small river will be safe.

    check out their website esp the gallery and section marked press cuttings

    Manvers Waterfront Boat Club

    Last edited by bendsomecane; 12-03-2010 at 16:15.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Durham City, Co Durham ... STILL The Land of The Prince Bishops


    I have a document somewhere where Dafydd Evans put his name to it stating that canoe access agreements would not be made if it impacted on people having a legitimate right (anglers) to use the water.

    But as with most verbal/printed rubbish that comes from the mouths of EA people it has proven to be a load of ....

    According to the last published minutes of the EA's NE RFERAC that admit they might have got it wrong by not consulting anglers who fish the Dearne, just one river amongst many I would suggest!
    Last edited by john m h; 12-03-2010 at 16:38.

  5. #5


    John, the real frightening thing is that the canoe club rep is a man called Chris Hawksworth, who im sure is a charming man , although ive never met him, has been allowed to push this issue over access on the river by the EA.

    Online are minutes of meetings with rotherham tourism which he and a EA rep were present, its clear that these are being pushed , no anglers were invited and no issue was made over river angling on the Dearne.

    What the people cannot grasp is that not all anglers want to fish lakes and ponds, me like many others simply enjoy the river and wouldnt go near a lake.

    The chub in the river are the only species worth targetting in winter they are a commendable size but are very spooky.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007



    The Environment Agency’s Access policy states that it will “promote sustainable increased access where it will not adversely impact on existing uses and users, or the economic, environmental and conservation value of the site, and associated area, now or in the future. Subject to resources, we will encourage access where managed solutions can be found to remove adverse impacts.”

    It states in writing above, where it will not adversely impact on existing uses and users, and associated area. NOW OR IN THE FUTURE.

    Having that in writing, I don't see how they can give access, and take swims at the same time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Durham City, Co Durham ... STILL The Land of The Prince Bishops


    Yes Andy, My spies tell me its been throwing up some nice chub lately, but keep it quiet

    The EA seems to have a hidden agenda when it comes to 'negotiating' canoe access agreements.
    With my clubs waters the EA met with our riparian owners, the canoe clubs, a commercial rowing boat company and even the owner of a $loody night-club/pleasure/party Mississippi type paddle boat (the river is hardly wide enough for it to turn round) but excluded us from the meetings, and we are the only ones paying (about £8k/year) to use the river. The EA graciously offered the club a place on the river users forum AFTER the done-deal.

    What really annoyed me was when the woman from the EA, a Barbara Pike, telephoned me and said "I'm calling to tell you what WE have decided is going to happen re: the canoe access"

    Sadly the one person from your area who could have put your case forward, Martin Read, resigned from the NE RFERAC. I think he'd had enough of the double-dealing.

    The NE RFERAC really is a disgrace; recently we had the undignified spectacle of it's Chairman walking out of a meeting he attended with the Tyne Anglers Alliance. The e-mail he sent to delegates the next day really was unbefitting of someone in his position.

    The NE RFERAC Agenda & Minutes can be seen HERE Andy, the Dearne canoe info is near the bottom of the pdf. Your Mr. C Hawkesworth would appear to be a member of the RFERAC, as I say done-deals. I do wonder why some of those appointed to this committee even bother to apply, it cant be because they are concerned about angling, probably more to enhance their CV's.

    Its about time 'Angling & Anglers' had a fair, proportionate and INTERESTED presence on the NE RFERAC, at the moment the composition of this committee is more like the Chairman's 'Thiefdom'

    The Chair does, in the final analysis, have a major say in just who is appointed and who isn't appointed to this committee.

    How the so called anglers on this committee could let something so important to anglers get through without it even registering is beyond me, but this same lot did the same with the Wear canoe access so it shouldn't really come as a surprise the interests of angling wasn't given a single thought.

    This is just another reason we need a strong and united Angling Trust!

    Opening up some 150 yds from the lake to the Dearne is going to cost a lot of cash, I wonder where it will come from?
    A recent 'event' on the Wear created what could have made an ideal winter fish refuge but the EA couldn't/wouldn't pay the cost of excavating just a few yards to lower the inlet level.
    One more reason we need a strong and united Angling Trust!
    Last edited by john m h; 13-03-2010 at 08:21.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by john m h View Post
    The EA seems to have a hidden agenda when it comes to 'negotiating' canoe access agreements.
    Simply not true John. I worked for the EA in Recreation for some years. The policy is quite clear, in terms of protecting existing users interests. Obviously I cant speak for individual officers, and not everyone is clued up on fisheries sensitivities or potential conflicts, but there is no conspiracy against anglers... or paddlers for that matter.

    However, I do agree with you that anglers need to get better organised and represented to protect the sport's interests.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    South Yorkshire


    I'm fortunate to live within sight of this river and first wrote about fishing there in David Hall's Coarse Fishing magazine in the 1980's when it made an amazing comeback from the dead.

    I seldom fish there now because, to put it bluntly, it's a sh**hole in the summer!

    Apart from the odd short stretch the Dearne has always been regarded by those who either use it, or dare I say abuse it, as 'free' fishing. Unfortunately if you don't pay you don't have a say.

    The stretch below the Pastures bridge is controlled by LNER in Mexborough, I believe. The bit above Darfield was run by a local WMC (not sure now?). A bit runs behind Fleets Dam. What about the rest?

    My advice to anyone who wishes to do anything other than moan on Internet forums is to form a Dearne Anglers' Alliance. Hold a public meeting with those who actually care about the fishing, gauge the true level of interest and be prepared to elect officials who will work tirelessly for the cause for scant reward.

    Start with a map of the river and recruit the clubs who currently rent stretches. Then find out who actually owns the rest and seek to create a relationship with the owners and be prepared to pay for the right of access, even if it is only a token £1.

    There are still enough active clubs in the area, Barnsley and District, Doncaster and District, Rotherham UAF, Leeds Anglers, Bradford, Worksop, etc, who maight be encouraged to take a stake in your project or even adopt it wholesale.

    Seek to involve disabled anglers, BADA, Reels on Wheels, etc, because they give you political clout.

    Whatever you do make sure the club joins the Angling Trust as this will give you legal clout.

    Consider an alliance with the Dearne Valley Wildlife Trust or whatever they're called and dare I say it, the RSPB because birds are affected by canoes as well as anglers.

    Finally you need to make friends with the EA and its fisheries deparrtment and work together on a future.

    Consider environmental improvement projects that might attract Lotery funding. Raise the stakes.

    And be prepared to dig deep, both into your pockets and into your soul because it'll be a hard and long battle.

    Right now you will not be invited to the table when any negotiations take place because you have nothing to represent. You have no right to belong there. You are poachers and litterers in the main. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh but that's where we stand.

    When plans were announced to open cast mine in the Pastures - Adwick - Bolton area and to divert the course of the Dearne I went on TV and was banging on in the media about the environmental impact. The villagers around here ran the campaign and we were successful.

    Now it's your turn.

    The fishing, where it is free, is easily identified by the remains of fires, damage, drunken yobs and stupid amounts of litter. It gets fished throughout the closed season in the very area you are keen to defend, ie behind the lake. I've seen it and I'm damn sure you have, too.

    The anglers who use the river are its worst enemy and if you were to ask most of those who walk their dogs along the river bank whether they'd prefer to see anglers or canoists, what do you think they'd say?

    You have an uphill fight on your hands because you don't have a leg to stand on right now. You don't own the river, you don't pay for the fishing and therefore you have no grounds for complaint when you are, in effect poaching in the first place.

    Just think on, a properly organised and publicised litter clean-up will give you your highest impact at next to no cost providing you can interest the media.

    But don't go thinking it'll be easy. It won't, and you'll also have to make concessions, but right now you've not got a leg to stand on, have you?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Rotherham South Yorkshire
    Blog Entries


    All absolutely spot on Bob.

    It's the same thing with the upper Don near Sheffield. Wonderful fishing, yet the average Sheffield angler thinks the river is there to chuck rubbish into.

    The Don and The Dearne could be two of the most wonderful rivers in the country. But the truth of the matter can be heard in any local tackle shop, where the sole subject of discussion is who will get peg XXX at the next match at Hayfield or ****ing Wetlands!

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