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Angling Trust organises fact finding visit for Richard Benyon to Walthamstow reservoirs

Last week Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon was shown around Thames Water's Walthamstow reservoir complex on an Angling Trust organised visit in order to brief the minister on some of the current issues of concern to anglers.

The Minister also officially opened the new classroom which has been just installed at the site to be used as the base for Thames Water's new Angling Academy. This installation is to be used as a teaching facility to be developed and run as an innovative new education programme centre based around angling for those less advantaged in society and less able bodied that would not otherwise get the opportunity to experience the positive benefits of angling based activities.

Richard Benyon took time to walk round the reservoirs and talk to members of the Walthamstow Flyfishers who told him of the damage that the huge cormorant roosts have been doing to the trees and fish stocks in the Lea Valley. Mr Benyon was also shown the "Walthamstow Wetlands" proposals. These proposals include an education and exhibition facility in a renovated pumping station, a café overlooking the reservoirs, improved habitats and biodiversity, nature trails and a three kilometre cycle route through the site. Walthamstow Wetlands won the 2012 London Planning Awards Best Conceptual Project and has been successful in gaining first phase funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thames Water has committed £1.5m towards the total cost of £6m

Richard Benyon MP, said:
"I know how angling can change lives for the better and how it can be a wonderful way of connecting people with nature. Thames Water is providing the means for people to get into fishing and thereby opening this extraordinary environment up to the many who live around it. An inspirational project that deserves the highest praise"

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, said:
"There is no doubt that Thames Water is creating a first rate community facility for youngsters and other newcomers to the sport of angling. It's great to see a major water company opening the doors of its assets and welcoming the public in rather than locking the public out. The Angling Trust are proud to be partners in the Thames Water Angling Academy which looks set to be a roaring success."

William Barnard, Thames Water's Angling Development Co-ordinator, said:
"We were delighted to welcome Mr Benyon to see our new angling facility at Walthamstow which is going to be open to youngsters in the area who would like to try their hand at fishing."This is going to be used by local schools and social services as well as charitable trusts including Get Hooked on Fishing. The aim is to give access to disadvantaged children while also offering a great facility to keep all youngsters entertained during the summer holidays."

Martin Esom, Chief Executive of Waltham Forest Council, added:
"Waltham Forest Council fully supports the development of Thames Water's Angling Academy. We are already working closely together on the Walthamstow Wetlands project, and the Angling Academy is another example of the fabulous opportunities that the area offers. This kind of investment will really benefit the local community and, in particular, our young people."

The Walthamstow reservoirs store water prior to treatment at one of the biggest water treatment plants in London serving 1.5 million customers with drinking water - but it is also an area of natural beauty hidden away in the urban sprawl of the city.
More than 300,000 people live within two miles of the site, which is located only minutes walk from Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Lane stations, enabling access by public transport from across north east London.

Martin James Fishing