CONCERN about the encroachment of canoes onto fishing venues has been heightened by British Canoeing trying to recruit an ‘access officer’.

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The job – that pays up to £30,000 a year – is primarily to improve waterway access for canoes and other paddlers.

The role involves managing a team of ‘Waterway Volunteers’ providing guidance to ensure a consistent application of British Canoeing access policy.

This will include organising local access and environmental forums to encourage and engage local paddlers and volunteers to raise concerns and address access issues.

The canoes post based at the National Water Sports Centre, Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, follows hard on the heels of the Welsh Government consultation on a proposal to have open access to all their rivers.

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal responded: “British Canoeing and Canoe Wales are continuing to cause problems for anglers all over the country by suggesting that the law about access is not clear and effectively encouraging members of the public to trespass on private waters.

“The Angling Trust & Fish Legal has spent thousands of pounds on legal advice to demonstrate that the law is clear.

“We have responded robustly to the consultation in Wales which was proposing open access to all rivers.

“We attended government workshops to present evidence of the potential damage to angling from these proposals and helped organise a strong campaign against them with the angling community and supportive MPs and Assembly Members.

“We are hopeful that no legislation will come forward, particularly as the government in Wales is very occupied with Brexit, but there remains a serious threat.

“We need more support from individual anglers if we are to fight this and many other threats to angling as we know and love it,” he added.

A former Environment Agency bailiff, who did not want to be named, said: “This is how Sport England money is being spent. Angling needs a similar role in protecting fisheries to combat such unwarranted intervention.”

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