Angling gets the green light from politicians ahead of the election

by Freddie Sandford |
Published on

Ahead of the General Election on July 4, the main political parties have shown support for fishing and the health of our rivers in response to a document from the Angling Trust that’s been dubbed a ‘manifesto for anglers’. Vote for a Fishing Future presents 10 policy areas aimed at protecting, promoting and developing angling.

It was sent to all the main parties in England alongside a call for politicians to commit to safeguarding the environment on which fishing depends, support policies that promote angling, and to maximise the sport’s social and economic benefits.

Labour's stance

“After 14 years of Conservative failure, we need to stop the desecration of our rivers and the rest of our countryside,” Steve Reed, Shadow Environment Secretary for Labour said.

“We're going to do that. Labour has plans to clean up our water. I'm grateful for this document, and we’ll give it our full consideration. We really need to turn the page, we need change. We can't let this pollution carry on. In government, we are looking forward to working with the angling community.”

In addition, Olivia Bailey, Labour’s candidate for Reading West and mid- Berkshire, said: “I’ve seen first-hand the great work done by the Angling Trust and their army of volunteers in monitoring and looking after the rivers in this area."

“If elected, I am determined to be a strong voice in Parliament for fish, fishing and the environment, and I’m delighted to see the angling community producing such thoughtful policy positions.”

Steve Reed and Olivia Bailey are campaigning for change
Steve Reed and Olivia Bailey are campaigning for change

Conservative stance

The Conservatives also responded to the document, but with slightly less vigour than Labour. James Sunderland – their candidate for Bracknell who’s a member of the All Party Parliament Group on Angling said:

“I welcome the new manifesto from the Angling Trust. As a keen environmentalist and angler, I look forward to working further to secure a healthier future for our sport and to see its benefits
promoted at all levels.”

James Sunderland is a keen angler and wants the waterways cleaned up.
James Sunderland is a keen angler and wants the waterways cleaned up.

Lib Dems stance

Tim Farron said: “Cleaning up our waterways is absolutely essential so that our beautiful lakes and rivers can be enjoyed by anglers, swimmers and everyone else.

“Liberal Democrats are calling for a tax on the unearned profits of the water companies so that, rather than lining the pockets of rich shareholders, that money can be used to fix Britain’s broken sewage system.”

Alternative stances

The Green Party, who have in the past been hostile towards angling, appear to have softened their stance. They still have ‘a ban on all blood sports’ as a point of their manifesto, but told the Angling Trust:

“We don’t include angling within our definition of blood sports.” They added that they ‘share many of the concerns raised’ in the Trust’s manifesto, ‘especially on water companies and water quality’.

Reform UK, formerly the Brexit Party, were sent a copy of the manifesto, but have not replied either.

Martin Salter, Head of Policy at the Angling Trust, welcomed the support from England’s main political parties, and remains hopeful that the critical issues facing the sport will be tackled by the new administration.

“At long last, the public have woken up to the fact that our rivers are blighted by
agricultural and sewage pollution, and are threatened by over-abstraction due to the failure of successive governments,” he said.

“This is now a hot political issue, and it is the job of the Angling Trust to make sure that this, and the other issues of concern to Britain’s two million anglers, remain absolute priorities for whoever forms the next government.”

Hopefully sights like these will become a thing of the past.
Hopefully sights like these will become a thing of the past.
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