AFTER a tiring six-year struggle, a highly respected angling club finally won compensation to restock after a pollution back in 2013.
Cambridge FPAS netted the river pollution result it was seeking to boost a stretch of Cam that was affected by the actions of Anglian Water.
The bloated utility firm had a failure at its sewage treatment works at Milton, in Cambridge, which led to the deaths of hundreds of River Cam fish.
The company had previously accepted responsibility for causing the fish deaths in the river pollution.
It agreed to pay compensation of £6,650 for loss of amenity and loss of income from match fishing.
They have coughed up that amount, but the trial ruling means that they must now pay nearly £3,000 more.
Unfortunately for the club, Anglian Water may appeal against that modest extra sum.
The Environment Agency initially cleared up the river pollution, but chose not to prosecute Anglian Water, leaving it to the anglers and Fish Legal to fight for compensation.
River pollution facts behind Cam struggle
A spokesman for Fish Legal said: “Cambridge FPAS, is a member of Fish Legal, and leases the fishing on the river downstream of the Milton works.
“Anglian Water operates under a licence that allows up to 5 mg/l of ammonia to be discharged into the river, but the discharge reached 19 mg/l.
“254 fish are known to have been killed, many of them were sizeable bream.
“Since the pollution they have reported long-term damage, particularly at Baits Bite Lock, where big bream had been caught in the past, but numbers have since declined.
“After drawn-out arguments with the water company, Fish Legal issued the case at Court on behalf of its member.
“Anglian Water admitted that it was to blame for the fish deaths and agreed to pay the angling club damages for the loss of amenity and loss of income from match fishing.
“They disputed whether the anglers were entitled to claim for restocking to help the fishery recover, but the trial judge has ruled that the club is entitled to recover compensation for restocking.
“Unfortunately, it may not all be over, as Anglian Water, which had operating profits of £336.6 million last year, has indicated that it wishes to appeal the decision, although they were refused leave to do so by the trial judge,” he concluded.
Club in tiring river pollution battle
Cambridge FPAS president Graham Tweed told the Mail: “Together with Fish Legal, we have battled to hold Anglian Water to account for killing hundreds of mature fish on the River Cam. We are delighted the court has ruled in our favour.
“Because the case might be subject to appeal, I don’t want to say anything more about the details at this stage, but we were left to fight for ourselves after the EA decided not to prosecute Anglian Water after they paid for the costs of the clean up.
“I would stress how important it is for angling clubs and individuals to be members of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.
“Without their assistance we could never have achieved this result.
“Even with it, the toll has been enormous, with us having to fight every inch of the way.
“The total awarded isn’t huge, but Anglian Water has decided for whatever reason to make it as difficult as possible for us to obtain the compensation for what we are rightfully due.”
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