Fish Legal begins legal action against Environment Agency for storm sewage and fish farm pollution on spring-fed Yorkshire river

1st March 2022

Fish Legal has sent a judicial review pre-action letter to the Environment Agency for failing to review permits held by Yorkshire Water, one private fish farm and the Environment Agency’s own fish farm on Costa Beck in North Yorkshire.  Representing its member angling club – the Pickering Fishery Association – Fish Legal is arguing that the Environment Agency’s continuing failure to review the permits as we enter the final 6-year ‘cycle’ of the Water Framework Directive’s river basin management plans is unlawful.

In 2020, untreated storm sewage from Yorkshire Water’s Pickering works discharged into the beck on 108 separate occasions for a total of over 260 hours.  Silt from the two fish farms near the spring source has smothered the riverbed and prevents trout and grayling from reproducing.  Once described as Yorkshire’s finest grayling river, Costa Beck was classed as ‘poor’ for fish by the Environment Agency back in 2009. 

A response to the pre-action letter from the Environment Agency is due on 8 March.

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