Bolton farmer pays anglers £10,000 for deadly discharge

The Bolton Co-Operative Angling Club has received £10,000 in compensation from a farmer who polluted their coarse fishery in 2010 thanks to the efforts of Fish Legal's expert lawyers.

In June 2010, thousands of carp, perch, roach and bream in the Hesketh Lodge, one of the club's lakes at Astley Bridge outside Bolton, were wiped out when silage liquor from storage facilities at nearby Harricroft Farm escaped into Astley Brook which fed into the anglers' prized fishery.

Hesketh Lodge fish killAs members of Fish Legal, the Bolton Co-Operative Angling Club was able to obtain free legal representation, and approached Fish Legal after the pollution to help them claim for the cost of restocking and for their loss of amenity. Once presented with the threat of legal proceedings, the farmer's insurers reluctantly negotiated an out of court settlement. Fish Legal is delighted to agree a substantial pay-out for its member club and to send a strong deterrent to potential polluters in the future.

William Rundle, Fish Legal solicitor, said:

"Farmers are required by law to store silage liquor in secure facilities away from waterways precisely because it poses such a danger to aquatic life.  Silage is essentially pickled grass used as a cattle feed through the winter months.  Unfortunately, the liquor that drains off it is a highly noxious pollutant, more harmful than pig or cattle slurry and many times more potent than domestic sewage.  In fact, DEFRA likens the polluting effect from just 100 tonnes of silage to the equivalent of the daily sewage output of a town of 25,000 people."

He went on:
"In this case, the silage liquor which poured into Hesketh Lodge caused oxygen levels to plummet and the fish in there quite literally suffocated.  It just goes to show that farmers need to be extremely careful when it comes to storing silage because of the risk their operations pose to the environment. The cost of reparation when they fail to do so properly can be substantial. Angling clubs that are close to such facilities or other industry should join Fish Legal in case they suffer pollution in the future. We can then act for them free of charge to seek compensation for the damage to their fishery and loss of fishing - clubs cannot rely on the Environment Agency to do this for them, it simply isn't their job to provide the free service we do when obtaining compensation for member clubs."

Niven Peacock, Secretary for the Bolton Co-Operative Angling Club, said:

"Thanks to Fish Legal Bolton Co-op Angling Club now have compensation for the pollution incident and the club can get on with the task of re-stocking to get the lodge back to what it used to be and hopefully get our membership back as well."