Angling Trust secures political support for fishing ahead of the General Election

The Angling Trust’s recently published manifesto – ‘Vote for a Fishing Future’ – has received a positive response from Labour and Conservative Party representatives.

The document, which was sent to all the main parties in England, calls on politicians to demonstrate their commitment to protecting the environment upon which the sport depends, to support policies that protect and promote angling, and maximise the economic and social benefits angling delivers.

The manifesto presents 10 specific policy asks aimed at protecting, promoting, and developing angling for all. These policy areas include pollution, regulation, marine conservation, angling access, participation, economic and social benefits of angling, anglers’ rights, reviving salmon stocks, and addressing threats from predation.

The most significant welcome came from Steve Reed, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, and the person the polls predict is most likely to be in the hot seat come July 5th. On a visit last week to Berkshire’s River Pang to hear about the plight of pollution in chalk streams, Steve Reed received a copy of the manifesto saying:

“After 14 years of Conservative failure, we need to stop the desecration of our rivers and indeed the rest of our countryside. We’re going to put a stop to that. Labour’s got plans to clean up our water. I’m really grateful for this document and we’ll give it our full consideration. But you know, we really need to turn the page, we need change. We can’t let this pollution keep going on. And thanks for all the campaigning work you’re doing. It makes a huge difference. And in government, we are looking forward to working with the angling community.”

Accompanying Steve Reed was Olivia Bailey, Labour’s candidate for Reading West and Mid-Berkshire who said:

“I have 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. I’m particularly keen to see if we can achieve increased protection for chalk streams like the Kennet, Pang and Lambourn. If I’m 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.”

James Sunderland, Conservative candidate for Bracknell and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Angling added:

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

Tim Farron, Lib Dem Environment Spokesman 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.”

The Greens, who have in the past been hostile to angling, calling for it to be banned, appear to have softened their stance. In response to enquiries from the Angling Trust they stated that “we don’t include angling within our definition of blood sports.”

They went on to say:

“We also share many of the concerns raised in your Manifesto, especially on the water companies and water quality.”

Reform were sent a copy but have not replied.

Martin Salter, Head of Policy at the Angling Trust welcomed the support that angling was attracting from the main parties. He said:

“At long last the public have woken up to the fact that our rivers are blighted by agricultural and sewage pollution and threatened by over-abstraction due to the failure of successive governments to build sufficient reservoir capacity or to properly regulate the farming and water industries. 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.”

The Angling Trust encourages its members to engage with local candidates to seek pledges of support for angling in the next Parliament.

Click to download a copy of the Angling Trust Manifesto

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