Trade boss welcomes £4 billion Thames clean-up
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Recreational fishing bodies from throughout the UK have welcomed the news that a multi-billion pound development to clean up one of the world’s most famous waterways has been given the go ahead.
The Angling Trust, which represents all fishing bodies in England, including the tackle trade, has backed the Government’s decision to start work on a long-awaited and much-needed tideway tunnel on the River Thames.
The development is seen as vital to stop tens of millions of tonnes of sewage overflowing into London’s river each year through the city’s 36 Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO).
The result of more than ten years of exhaustive research and development by Thames Water and the Environment Agency, the tunnel proposal has been declared as the only viable solution to dealing with what has been described as ‘London’s dirty secret’ where as little as 2mm of rain can cause the sewers to overflow directly into the river with devastating effects for fish.
Mark Lloyd, CEO of the Angling Trust, said: “Sewage overflows in the summer at times of low water are particularly damaging to wildlife in the river and to a wide range of freshwater and marine fish. The Thames has been described as a wildlife superhighway through London and is an important nursery area for millions of bass, flounder and other species.
“Every time there is a major overflow of sewage tens of thousands of fish die, damaging the fragile eco-system. Millions of pounds have been spent on fish passes to encourage salmon to return to the Thames, but until sewage pollution in the Tideway is tackled, most migratory fish runs are bound to fail.”
Angling Trust Campaigns Chief Martin Salter added that when the £4 billion project had been completed, it will create thousands of employment opportunities in the recreation, tourism and leisure industries with fishing a major beneficiary.