Environment Agency gives notice of cessation of weed boom extraction operations on the River Avon and Wylye with immediate effect.

The Wiltshire Fishery Association committee has received notice from the Environment Agency that, for Health & Safety reasons, they will no longer be able to operate their weed extraction booms at Chilhampton on the River Wylye and/or Salisbury on the River Avon. A copy of the letter received from Jim Flory (EA) is shown below.

Without having the EA’s booms installed, the WFA cannot meet the conditions of its existing weed cutting exemption. It therefore falls upon members (and non-members) to make their own arrangements for weed cutting and/or weed extraction for the remainder of the 2023 season.

Legal Position

It is an offence under Section 90 of the Water Resources Act 1991 “to cut vegetation in inland waters without taking reasonable steps to remove it”. If you cut or uproot a substantial amount of vegetation in any inland freshwater (or so near that it falls into an inland freshwater) and don’t take reasonable steps to remove the vegetation from the water, you are undertaking a water discharge activity and may be committing an offence.

You may be exempt from the requirement to hold a permit if you can meet the following conditions:

  1. Vegetation removed from the water is disposed of safely and in accordance with Defra guidance.
  1. If it is necessary to allow vegetation to pass downstream –
    • You give prior notice of the activity to anyone that may be affected.
    • There is sufficient flow to convey the vegetation.
    • You register the exempt activity with the Environment Agency.
    • The activity does not cause pollution.

The WFA committee are only well-intentioned intermediaries in this matter and cannot be held responsible for any damage resulting from weed cutting and/or weed extraction. Riparian owners and lessees allowing weed cuts within their waters should obtain the appropriate permit or exemption from the Environment Agency.

The WFA committee continues to work closely with the Environment Agency to try resolve these issues.

If you have any questions, please contact me by email (see below) – and I will respond as soon as I can.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Wellard –

On behalf of Wiltshire Fishery Association

By |2023-05-27T18:51:27+00:00May 27th, 2023|News, Weed Cutting|Comments Off on WEED CUTTING & EXTRACTION

WFA 2023 AGM & Newsletter

The Wiltshire Fishery Association AGM with be held on Wednesday 25th Febuary 2023 at Enford Village Hall starting at 10:30

1 Apologies for absence
2 Approval of the minutes of the 2022 AGM
3 Matters arising from the 2022 AGM minutes
4 Financial report on accounts for 2022/2023
5 Chairman’s and Officers’ reports
6 Swans and piscivorous birds
7 Election of Officers and Committee
8 Water Quality Group report
9 Any other business.

Following the formal AGM, at approximately 1200 there will be a talk on river water quality issues by Fergal Sharkey.

By |2023-01-17T17:00:38+00:00January 17th, 2023|News|Comments Off on WFA 2023 AGM & Newsletter

Wiltshire Fishery Weed Cutting Dates 2023

Wiltshire Fishery Association Weed Cutting Dates 2023

Read below or download HERE

River Wylye – Bathampton to Chilhampton No
Free weed cutting period – Thurs 14th to Wed 27th April 3
Sat 13th – Tue 23rd May Wed 24th & Thur 25th May 13
Wed 28th June – Thur 13th July Fri 14th & Sat 15th July 18
Wed 16th – Wed 23rd Aug Thur 24th & Fri 25th Aug 10
River Wylye – Below Chilhampton
Free weed cutting period – Thurs 14th to Wed 27th April 3
Tue 16th – Fri 26th May Sat27th & Sun28th May 13
 Fri 30 Jun – Sat 15th July Sun 16th & Mon 17th July 18
Fri 18th – Fri 25th Aug Sat26th & Sun 27th Aug 10
River Nadder
Free weed cutting period – Thurs 14th to Wed 27th April 3
Sat 13th – Tues 23rd May Wed 24th & Thurs 25th May 13
Wed 28th June – Thurs13th July Fri 14th & Sat 15th July 18
Wed 16th – Wed 23rd Aug Thurs 24th & Fri 25th Aug 10
River Avon – Above Crossing ‘C’
Sun 23rd April to Sun 7th May Mon 8th & Tues 9th May 17
Mon 12th to Sat 24th June Sun 25th & Mon 26th June 15
Mon 24th July to Wed 2nd Aug Thurs 3rd & Fri 4th August 12
River Avon – Below Crossing ‘C’
Thurs 27th Apr to Fri 11th May Sat  12th & Sat 13th May 17
 Fri 16th to Wed 28th June Thurs 29th & Fri 30th Jun 15
Wed 26th July to Fri 4th August Sat 5th & Sun 6th August 12

*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 a potential for juvenile fry emergence, especially after a cold winter/early spring, should be left uncut.


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 programme of dates is now agreed for 2022 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 this site 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.
  3.  Regular communication with your upstream and downstream neighbours is essential to ensure trouble-free weed cutting and clearing down.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Report all blockages and any other weed related issues immediately to the WFA Hon Sec:

For WFA membership and other enquires contact: Martin Browne – Honorary Secretary

Mobile:  07768354788          email:  Please use sire contact form.


By |2022-11-02T08:08:07+00:00October 26th, 2022|News|Comments Off on Wiltshire Fishery Weed Cutting Dates 2023

Gordon Mackie

The WFA is sad to announce the death of Gordon Mackie, author and long term member of both the Wilton and Salisbury & District Angling Clubs.
His funeral will be held at the West Wilts Crematorium Semington on Thursday 30th June at 1;45pm.

The Committee of the WFA send condolences to the Mackie family.

Martin Browne

By |2022-06-21T06:47:13+00:00June 21st, 2022|News|Comments Off on Gordon Mackie

WFA AGM 2022

Wiltshire Fisheries Association – Annual General Meeting.

The 2022 AGM of the WFA will be held via zoom on Friday the 18th of March 2022 at 10:30 am

To attend this virtual meeting please email the Honorary Secretary  wfa.honsec@gmail.com for meeting Link,  ID and Passcode

By |2022-03-08T16:30:41+00:00March 8th, 2022|News|Comments Off on WFA AGM 2022

Beaver Consultation – WFA Response

On 25th August 2021 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) launched a public consultation seeking views on its proposed approach to beaver reintroduction and management in England. The consultation is still active but closes shortly on November 17th.  Having been involved in this subject to date and having particular concerns within the chalkstream environment the WFA committee has discussed, drafted and submitted the following response.

Beaver Consultation – Wiltshire Fishery Association (WFA) Response

Click HERE to Read.

By |2021-11-16T19:49:26+00:00November 15th, 2021|News|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.


Bob Wellard – WFA Hon Sec

By |2021-12-19T12:07:50+00:00July 23rd, 2020|News|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|News|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|News|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|News|0 Comments
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