Hampshire Avon weed cutting set to end soon

Anglers on one of the most famous rivers in the country - the Hampshire Avon - are celebrating this week after authorities agreed to stop the mass removal of weed and aquatic vegetation.

For more than a decade, the Environment Agency and Natural England have used huge machines to remove tons of weed each year on the Hampshire Avon in order to meet ‘specific conservation objectives’.

The programme caused friction among the local angling community, who claimed that the ‘excessive action’ was responsible for the mass destruction of fish fry and their habitat, as well as removing vital natural food and cover – leaving fish vulnerable to predation.

But now the EA has announced that the current five-year plan will not extend beyond the end of 2009, much to the delight of former British barbel record-holder and Avon regular Ray Walton, who in recent years has been leading the crusade to have the practice stopped.

“I have been fighting this for a long time because I’ve always thought that weed removal on this scale was not only unnecessary, but also very damaging to the environment. I’ve always made my feelings very clear to the authorities,” he added.



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