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Weed Cutting Dates 2021

River Wylye – Bathampton to Chilhampton No
CUTTING CLEARING DOWN Days
Free weed cutting period – Wed 14th & Tues 27th April 3
Thurs 13th – Sun 23rd May Mon 24th & Tues 25th May 13
Mon 28th June – Tues 13th July Wed 14th & Thurs 15th July 18
Mon 16th – Mon 23rd Aug Tues 24th & Wed 25th Aug 10
44
River Wylye – Below Chilhampton
CUTTING CLEARING DOWN
Free weed cutting period – Wed 14th & Tues 27th April 3
Sun 16th – Wed 26th May Thurs 27th & Fri 28th May 13
Wed 30 Jun – Thurs 15th July Fri 16th & Sat 17th July 18
Wed 18th – Wed 25th Aug Thurs 26th & Fri 27th Aug 10
44
River Nadder
CUTTING CLEARING DOWN
Free weed cutting period – Wed 14th & Tues 27th April 3
Thurs 13th – Sun 23rd May Mon 24th & Tues 25th May 13
Mon 28th June – Tues 13th July Wed 14th & Thurs 15th July 18
Mon 16th – Mon 23rd Aug Tues 24th & Wed 25th Aug 10
44
River Avon – Above Crossing ‘C’
CUTTING CLEARING DOWN
Fri 23rd April to Fri 7th May Sat 8th & Sun 9th May 17
Sat 12th to Thurs 24th June Fri 25th & Sat 26th June 15
Sat 24th July to Mon 2nd Aug Tues 3rd & Wed 4th August 12
44
River Avon – Below Crossing ‘C’
CUTTING CLEARING DOWN
Tues 27th Apr to Tues 11th May Wed 12th & Thurs 13th May 17
 Wed 16th to Mon 28th June Tues 29th & Wed 30th Jun 15
Mon 26th July to Wed 4th August Thurs 5th & Fri 6th August 12
44

IMPORTANT NOTICE: EA WEED BOOM DEPLOYMENT DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

We are continuing our discussions with the Environment Agency and are hopeful they will be able to install their booms in Salisbury & Chilhampton in 2021, however, this has NOT yet been confirmed. Further updates will be posted on the WFA website as soon as we have more information. Thank you for your continued support.

*Free Weed Cut – River Wylye & Nadder

Allows for a Maximum 3-days light cutting (by hand only) from 14th to 27th April, which includes clearing down. You MUST inform your downstream neighbour before cutting and when you have finished clearing down. Clubs should try to remove cut weed where possible only allowing the minimum amount to travel downstream. Representatives from EA, NE & WFA will continue to monitor weed cutting.

*EA weed booms will not be deployed during the period of the Free weed cut.

*Areas where there are salmon and trout redds and potential for juvenile fry emergence, especially after a cold winter/early spring, should be left uncut.

IMPORTANT NOTES

Under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations, 2010 – ‘Exempt Water Discharge Activity’ – The Environment Agency allows members of the Wiltshire Fishery Association to cut weed on the agreed dates and in accordance with the conditions of the exemption.

This program of dates is now agreed for 2021 and there is no intention to amend it unless circumstances arise when this is necessary. In that event, the changes will be posted on the WFA website http://wiltshirefisheryassociation.org under “NEWS” and circulated to River Email Groups. Before you cut weed, it is your responsibility to check both the website and your email group.

  1. With the exception of the *Free Weed Cut in April on the Wylye and Nadder (see separate notes above), cutting MUST start at the beginning of the dates allowed.
  2. You MUST inform your downstream neighbour before cutting and when you have finished clearing down and of any subsequent problems.
  1. Regular communication with your upstream and downstream neighbours is essential to ensure trouble-free weed cutting and clearing down.
  2. Cutting of weed outside of the authorised dates, without the Agency’s consent, constitutes an offence under Section 90 of the Water Resources Act 1991.
  3. Unauthorised cutting should be reported immediately to the Environment Agency using their Pollution Hotline Tel: 0800 80 70 60 – Note the exact location (grid reference), date & time & take photographs. Do not enter neighbouring property unless you have permission to do so.
  4. Weed cutting should be undertaken in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of the river habitat. Overzealous cutting of in-river weed or marginal vegetation can significantly reduce water levels, which can have a negative impact on invertebrates, fish and other wildlife.
  5. In all cases the final two days, as shown separately in the table above, MUST be regarded as ‘clearing down’ days and any weed not cut before these days, left uncut. In some circumstances, especially in low water periods, you may need to extend the period of clearing down beyond two days, to ensure there’s plenty of time for cut weed to move through the system.
  6. Report all blockages and any other weed related issues immediately to the WFA Hon Sec:

For WFA membership and other enquires contact: Bob WellardHonorary Secretary

Office: 01747851418 Mobile: 07872583910 Email: wfa.honsec@btinternet.com

 Website: http://wiltshirefisheryassociation.org

 

By |2020-11-26T14:58:50+00:00November 26th, 2020|Weed Cutting|0 Comments

Weed Cutting Update

I can confirm that for the remainder of this summer WFA members may continue weed cutting in the upper Hampshire Avon catchment (includes all Avon tributaries upstream of Salisbury) without an Environment Agency permit or exemption as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Weed cutting is kept to the minimum amount required to allow angling to take place. Where possible this should be a hand cut only.
  • All cut weed is to be removed in situ and must not be allowed to drift downstream.
  • Any boom or structure used to catch weed that is installed into the river should have a permit where it is not an existing structure or set of hatches for example.
  • Weed should be left to rest for a short time on the bankside to allow invertebrates to re-enter the watercourse, before being removed to a sufficient distance to ensure nutrients from the breaking down weed do not enter the river.

Message ends.

23.07.20

Bob Wellard – WFA Hon Sec

By |2020-08-13T20:26:35+00:00July 23rd, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Weed Cutting Update – 21st July 2020

The latest update from the Environment Agency received today, 21st July 2020, is that they have confirmed they will not be able to deploy the boom at Salisbury or Chilhampton. The guidance they have to follow has not changed and despite reviewing a number of options for deploying the boom they have not been able to identify a safe alternative method.

See also notes from the Zoom meeting held between the WFA & Environment Agency on 25th June, which gives a little more detail.

Attendees:
Jim Flory – Environment Agency Area Environment Manager (Avon)
Jim Wreglesworth – Environment Agency Flood & Coastal Risk Manager (Avon & Stour)
Tom Davis – WFA Chairman
Bob Wellard – WFA Hon Sec
Andreas Topintzis – WFA Hon Treasurer
Stuart McTeare – WFA Committee
Martin Browne – WFA Committee (Chairman Wiltshire Keepers)
Martijn Antheunisse – CEO Wessex River Trust
Chris Hodder – WFA Committee
Brigadier Iain Reid – WFA Committee

Meeting Summary

Our meeting focused on two main questions – 1) EA weed extraction boom operations – Salisbury and 2) Illegal weed cutting on the River Avon.

EA’s Weed extraction / boom operations – Salisbury

Q1. With regards to social distancing and working safely during Covid-19 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb961bfe90e070834b6675f/working-safely-during-covid-19-construction-outdoors-240620.pdfWill the EA weed extraction team be able to install the booms at Salisbury ahead of the next agreed weed cutting dates, scheduled to start on 25th July?

The short answer to this question, regrettably, there’s NO CHANGE, for the reasons outlined below.
The EA has held a number of meetings with several members of their Ops teams who have many years’ experience installing booms, and many other in-channel works, where they discussed at length the issues for the team associated with working in close proximity.
Whilst most parts of the boom installation process are possible by social distancing, and through hygiene/cleaning measures, it appears they are still unable to come up with a suitable work-around for the process of actually securing the boom (usually achieved by driving long scaffold bars into the river bed), or indeed securing the boom poles themselves into position (which is necessary to keep the boom pins orientated into the correctly elevated position).
The bottom line is the EA requires four members of staff to be in the same boat to complete these tasks, and under current Gov’t & HSE guidance they are not happy they can meet the necessary Health, Safety and Wellbeing standards to manage that risk. Additionally, as part of a government department, the EA are following the same strict guidance for outdoor construction businesses.

How is it the EA can operate its boom on the River Test at Timsbury but not in Salisbury?
The EA’s boom construction and setup process at Timsbury is a relatively low-risk operation compared to the one in Salisbury. The Timsbury boom is a civil engineering construction using a modular platform design and is just 23m long. There is no comparison with the Salisbury boom, which is comprised of an inflatable deflector boom with primary and secondary catching booms, and much bigger at 159m. The Timsbury boom has seen significant investment in recent years, which allows the extraction process to be carried out with fewer people.

Why doesn’t the EA invest in a long term, Hi-Tech solution?
The EA does not have a legal duty to extract cut weed. Whilst the Salisbury boom is ‘low tech’ compared to the one in Timsbury, it did work extremely well before the C-19 pandemic. The cost of the boom operation is shared 50/50 between the EA & WFA owners/ clubs who cut weed. The EA’s contribution comes from Rod Licence fees, which has reduced significantly in recent years. Hence, there’s limited funds for further development of the site. However, it’s worth noting, the cost of the EA’s installation, operation, disposal of the weed and dismantling of the boom and is only ever charged at cost, with no additional ‘profit’ margin, as would be the case if using an outside contractor.

If the EA cannot operate its boom in Salisbury, why not extract the weed at a different location?
Alternative sites have been considered and trialled in the past, but with limited success. Having the boom located in Salisbury allows the capture of weed from the whole of the upper Avon catchment, including the Wylye and Nadder.

What should we do if the C-19 pandemic continues into 2021 and the EA’s position remains unchanged?
We will continue to review the challenges we fact with C-19, however, we have limited options at this stage so we will continue to work with the WFA to support individuals with small-scale, weed cutting and extraction operations as best we can. We will continue to look at affordable technology.

Conclusion
The situation therefore remains un-changed in that, members of the WFA who cut weed will need self-extract, removing all cut weed within the fishery, until further notice.
The WFA will continue to explore opportunities for small-scale extraction and to support clubs/ owners with the process.

Tom Davis expressed his thanks to the EA for joining the zoom meeting, and for being very clear about the situation with the Salisbury boom and for explaining the challenges being faced with the current Covid situation to provide proper protection for EA staff. The WFA is fully supportive of that and that the safety of the weed boom operators remains of paramount importance, whether they be staff or outside contractors.

Illegal Weed Cutting

Q2. The WFA has received reports of illegal weed cutting activity on the Upper Avon. This appears to be an ongoing problem, having been reported to the EA on several occasions. What action is being taken?
It was agreed the WFA & EA would follow up on reports of illegal weed cutting. Specific details have been withheld for legal reasons.

Message Ends

Bob Wellard MIFM – Hon Sec
T: 01747 851418
M: 07872583910
E: wfa.honsec@btinternet.com

By |2020-07-21T16:35:55+00:00July 21st, 2020|Weed Cutting|0 Comments

Weed Cutting Update – 2nd June

The latest news is that the EA held a meeting with several members of their Ops teams, including the likes of Jim Wreglesworth, Bruce Thorne and David Merrick – who have many years’ experience installing booms, and many other in-channel works, where they discussed at length the issues for the team associated with working in close proximity.

Whilst most parts of the boom installation process are possible by social distancing, and through hygiene/cleaning measures, it appears they are still unable to come up with a suitable work-around for the process of actually securing the boom (usually achieved by driving long scaffold bars into the river bed), or indeed securing the boom poles themselves into position (which is necessary to keep the boom pins orientated into the correctly elevated position).

The bottom line is the EA requires four members of staff to be in the same boat to complete these tasks, and under current guidance they are not happy they can meet the necessary Health, Safety and Wellbeing standards to manage that risk. Additionally, as part of a government department, we must be mindful that the EA are following the same strict guidance which all other businesses and members of the community, including us, are being asked to adhere to.

As you will have already gleaned from the above, this leaves us in an unchanged situation from where we were at the start of the C-19 working restrictions in that, if the EA are unable to install the booms we cannot cut weed unless we self-extract it ourselves.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Bob Wellard – Hon Sec

M: 07872583910

E: wfa.honsec@btinternet.com

 

EA Weed Booms – Salisbury

1 = Permanent concrete ground anchor with associated fixing chain (inspected and certificated annually before use by AM Defence & Marine).

2 = ‘Main Boom’ which prevents weed from going straight on down the main river, and encourages surface velocities to guide the floating cut weed towards the ‘Deflector Boom’ (see 4).

3 = Permanent concrete ground anchor with associated fixing chain (inspected and certificated annually before use by AM Defence & Marine).

4 = ‘Deflector Boom’, a floating boom with a hanging ‘skirt’ beneath the surface, this boom guides the floating cut weed into the mouth of the Navigation Carrier.

5 = First ‘Catching Boom’, which is where the cut weed is actually stopped and allowed to build up until there is enough to warrant removal from site.

6 = Footbridge (owned and maintained by London Anglers’ Association).

7 = Second ‘Catching Boom’, which acts as a second line of defence to catch any weed which manages to sneak under the first catching boom…’belt and braces’.

8 = Permanent concrete ground anchor with associated fixing chain (inspected and certificated annually before use by AM Defence & Marine).

9 = Permanent concrete ground anchor with associated fixing chain (inspected and certificated annually before use by AM Defence & Marine).

10 = Long-reach excavator within fenced area.

Note: All booms are held in place using Tirfor winches (rated 3.2t for the Main Boom and Catching Booms, and 1.6t for the Deflector Boom – all inspected annually and certificated by AM Defence & Marine).

 

By |2020-06-02T06:53:39+00:00June 2nd, 2020|Weed Cutting|0 Comments

Weed Cutting – Update 17th April

Dear All,
If you haven’t already heard (see previous posts), the Environment Agency has confirmed they will not be installing the weed booms during the C-19 restrictions and have issued a stop on weed cutting unless you can self-extract.
Latest message from Phil Rudd (EA – Fisheries Technical Specialist) as follows:
‘All cut weed should be removed within the fishery. At the moment we couldn’t allow any activities that may increase the likelihood of our operations team needing to be called out to clear blockages etc. however small that risk.’
We still have a way to go before the weed cut in May; we will keep you posted if there are any changes.
If you have any questions please contact Bob Wellard – Hon Sec
By |2020-04-17T08:36:52+00:00April 17th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

WFA & C19 – Update

As a result of Covid19 and Government movement restrictions, the WFA advised all fisheries to close for the period of the most stringent controls, which commenced Monday 23rd March. We will review our position in the light of government guidance at the end of this period (Monday 13th April). This is to protect our members, keepers & contractors and the wider public and public services from any impact however small it may be. Most, if not all, clubs in the area have already made this decision or are reviewing their position. The Angling Trust has given clear guidance that we should refrain from fishing during this period.

For more details visit: https://joinanglingtrust.net/covid19-support-hub/

It is to some extent fortunate that we are not yet quite into the game fishing season. We can only hope that we will be back on the water soon. The WFA committee would like to thank all members for their understanding at this very difficult time.

  1. Support for Angling Businesses – We urge all anglers to continue to support their clubs and angling businesses throughout this difficult time. By working together we will limit the damage in the long term.
  2. Weed Cutting Suspension – Unless you can self-extract weed you should not cut weed.

If you do plan on cutting and self-extracting weed, you MUST inform the Environment Agency and WFA beforehand. Those who choose to cut and extract their weed should do so only during the agreed weed cutting periods – This will ensure that, when restrictions on fishing are lifted, and the booms haven’t yet been installed, that the disturbance to downstream fishing is no more than normal since it is inevitable that some weed will drift downstream.

It’s also likely you will need to have a U13 Waste Exemption in place. We have asked the EA for further clarification on this. We will continue to review the situation and provide further updates on our website in due course. For more details see below:

We have received confirmation that unfortunately the EA will not be able to operate the weed booms at Chilhampton or Salisbury whilst government advice on social distancing remains in place. The reasons behind this decision and some options that remain for weed management should fisheries desire to continue with cutting in a reduced format are outlined below. The EA will reassess its position as the guidance is updated. We will inform members of any changes as they arise.

Environment Agency – Important Notice

Due to the spread of COVID-19 and the associated government guidance, our field operations team, along with the rest of the Environment Agency, have been directed to work from home where possible and to stop any site activities that may pose a risk of virus spread to employees. When installing the weed boom, operational staff are required to work in teams in close proximity on boats and when manually handling equipment. The operations involve a large number of staff from a geographically wide area in order to minimise manual handling risks. This operation represents a risk to staff health that we cannot justify under the current government guidance and thus the weed boom is unable to be installed at this time.

There remains the option for individual fisheries to hand cut weed and remove on site. Cut weed should be left on the bank for a short period of time to allow invertebrates to find their way back into the river and then the weed should be removed from the bank edge so as to not allow nutrients to leach back into the water. Weed should not be cleared through to downstream fisheries at this time and each fishery is responsible for the weed that is cut on their stretch.

3. Stocking There are currently no restrictions on the movement of fish. However, we are mindful some of our members will have arranged to stock in the next few weeks, during the initial self-isolating phase of C-19. We recommend you speak to your suppliers to see if you can defer stocking for a few more weeks. If not, you may want to ask them if they can stock without you having to be on site. It’s doubtful many suppliers will be able to hold fish for the long term. We very much hope members will continue to support their suppliers at this difficult time.

4. Reporting Pollution & Poaching Incidents – Even more than usual, it’s vitally important that any pollution incidents or poaching are reported to the EA’s incident hotline 0800 80 70 60  or visit:  https://www.gov.uk/report-an-environmental-incident

Environment Agency Position Statement

In line with government advice on Coronavirus most of our teams are now working from home and nearly all of our local offices are closed, other than key national buildings and depots. Because of these changes to our working practices and to support our part in the government’s efforts to deliver key public services, we have had to prioritise certain parts of our work.

With the current guidance in place we are restricted in terms of response to less severe pollution incidents and our ability to work in teams to carry out rod licence and out-of-season fishing checks. We are gathering evidence on potential increases of poaching due to a lower footfall on riverbanks and will be constantly reviewing the situation in the upcoming weeks.  

We have put in place arrangements to ensure that as far as possible we can:

  • Continue to respond effectively in the event of a major flood, pollution or other incident;
  • Carry out our regulatory activities in a safe, secure and effective way, focusing on the highest risk operations and sites;
  • Keep our operational sites and infrastructure, such as flood barriers, up and running;
  • Support businesses who face their own operational difficulties;
  • Sustain our cooperation with the emergency services, local authorities and other partners, including in the Local Resilience Forums which are helping manage the current crisis.

While we will aim to provide the best possible service we can, you will understand that in current circumstances we will not be able to operate as normal and will be directing our efforts to keeping critical operations running. This may mean that we are not able to respond to you as promptly as we normally would and that low-level issues or risks will not be dealt with in the same way.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these unusual and challenging times. Phil Rudd – Technical Fisheries Specialist

5. Riverfly & SMART River Invertebrate Monitoring – With restrictions on travel and rivers still being very high, it’s unlikely you will be able to take any samples before early May. We will review this again in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time.

Message Ends

Bob Wellard – WFA Hon Sec

Mobile: 07872583910 Email: wfa.honsec@btinternet.com

 

 

 

 

By |2020-04-09T08:50:44+00:00April 9th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fishing with Coronavirus – Let’s keep in touch

Following the Prime Minister’s announcements about the need for social distancing as part of the coronavirus response efforts, I’m sure many of our members will be concerned about how this might affect fishing in the coming months.

The Wilshire Fishery Association was founded for the benefit of all who fish our rivers. Our role at this challenging time will be to do all we can to help our members so that they can continue to spend time on our rivers, while still observing social distancing measures. And while it might not be possible to access all rivers, many of the clubs and owners are advising us that they will be open for business, perhaps with local restrictions in some areas to help keep you safe.

As always, we want to thank you for all you do to care for the rivers that help unite and sustain us. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated.

The health and wellbeing of our stakeholders, members, partners and of course our colleagues is our priority in these exceptional times. We are working to continue our support to our members as best we can.

Please continue to contact us by email or as necessary by post.

Our message is, PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH, and let us know if you have any concerns.

For general enquiries email: wfa.honsec@btinternet.com

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By |2020-03-20T17:16:27+00:00March 20th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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