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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Effluent on River Aire Near Skipton

For a long time we have had a problem on the River Aire near Skipton with effluent coming into the river from a pipe.It stinks, its a horrid black colour, sometimes a grey colour. Underneath the liquid there is some three foot of horrid sludge. It effects both Bradford No 1 AA and Bradford City AA. As you can see from the pictures me and my son have built a dam around the effluent. The river is full of fry at present, we could lose everything if this effluent gets into the river. I feel the EA have let us anglers down rather badly. Below is a letter I sent the the Head of Fisheries at the EA. and Mr Evans prompt reply. I also had a quick response from Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans who writes Hi Martin it looks bloody awful......I will get onto it straight away. Nigel

I will keep you all posted on events as they unfold, It will also be featured in the Anglers Mail next week and perhaps some national newspapers. We have been badly let down by the local EA.Hopefully the Head of Fisheries will now get to grips with this problem

Dear Mr Evans

I am writing to you as I understand that you are head of fisheries at the EA. For some time the EA have been aware that we have had a major problem at Funkirk Farm on the River Aire near Skipton. Picture attached. This problem has been going on for several years unchecked, yet no-one at the EA is prepared to see an end to the problem. All I get are excuses such as we do not know where the effluent is coming from. Surely its up to your people to do some work and find out where its coming from and what this effluent actually is. We have two pipes side by side coming into the river. I am sure it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out where the effluent originates from by doing some tests.
To the best of my knowledge no one has taken any samples for analysis. Surely this should be a priority.

Yesterday (22nd August) I called the EA. This morning, Janet Johnson of the EA at Leeds called me and three hours later Nick Reynolds of the EA met me at the site. I was told that the farmer concerned would pump off the effluent. An hour or so later, a small amount was pumped off. At the same time more effluent was coming in from the pipe and today it was all foamy and back in situe. I again reported this to Janet Johnson and Nick Reynolds. I stayed at the site until 6-0pm yet to my astonishment nothing was done. I then went off home. As a 68 year old diabetic I should not have to sit on the river bank for many hours to see if any action was being taken when there is a national organisation who is paid to deal with this responsibility. I will be back on site tomorrow Wednesday morning. Where this effluent has been coming into the river over a long period of time, we now have three feet of deadly sludge.

At the present time the river is extremely low, with high water temperatures and low oxygen content. On the plus side, we have for the first time in several years a large number of chub fry. If this effluent gets into the river we could lose all those fry which are the future of the river. There is no point in having a NFW if we are killing off our future fish stocks. Its time the EA came off the fence and did the job we anglers and tax payers expect, that being to clean up of our waterways, starting with this problem on the River Aire at Funkirk Farm Skipton. This effluent isn't going away unless the EA get tough with someone and I am certainly not going away. We have two big angling Associations involved - Bradford City AA and Bradford No1 AA. Talking with club officials I am told they haven't even had a reply to their correspondence. I must ask what are your staff supposed to be doing? Senior members of the EA with their own heirarchical agendas taking precedence over their duty to the public will not improve the environment. Several of us are getting to the stage where we if we do not get this problem sorted we will seek the help of Greenpeace and take the matter into our own hands by welding the pipe up. Then no doubt we shall quickly learn where the effluent is coming from.

You may, or may not be aware that I have a twice weekly fishing and environmental programme aired on BBC Radio Lancashire, and also broadcast worldwide on the Internet. You can be assured that my audience will be kept appraised of any developments at this site, and also be told who is responsible for any failures to deal with this problem.

I trust that this letter which has been copied to my MP Nigel Evans, The Environment Minister and various newspapers. will result in some swift and decisive action being taken at this potentially devastating site. I Look forward to hearing from you in response by return.I can of course be contacted on my mobile 07779-473798

Yours sincerely

Martin James

Please see picture


Thank you for yesterday's e-mail and the picture showing effluent
entering a watercourse. I can understand your concern given the current
low flow conditions.

To give you a full response I will need to make contact with the Area
Manager, Paul Tullet, who is responsible for operational delivery for
all of the Agency's activities, including fisheries, for the Ridings

I will be in contact again as soon as I am able to discuss the matter
with Paul.

Many thanks

Dafydd Evans
Head of Fisheries

Martin James Fishing