Angling club angered by Environment Agency’s refusal to review airport pollution permit

A Derby angling club is disappointed with the Environment Agency’s (EA) decision not to review the environmental permit of East Midlands Airport (EMA) thought to be polluting the River Trent.

Derby Railway Angling Club had previously sent reports of pollution to the EA for over a decade, after finding evidence of aircraft de-icing chemicals in the water and excessive growth of a fungus on the riverbed.

EMA is currently permitted to discharge water containing de-icing chemicals between November and April each year.

This licence was changed in 2018 to ensure the discharge did not have a significant adverse visible effect on water, wildlife or plants in the area.

The EA has called this permit ‘an appropriate and legally enforced means of regulatory control’ and said that an ongoing investigation into permit breaches by the airport could result in enforcement.

Geoff Hardy, Solicitor at Fish Legal who is representing the fishing club, stated: ‘The Environment Agency’s response is very disappointing. Clearly things are going wrong at this site, and we hoped that the regulator would take the opportunity to act to protect the river by tightening the current permit.

‘To enforce a condition in the permit which states that there should not be a “significant adverse visible effect” of pollution in the river, the Environment Agency actually needs to attend at the site. However, as the Agency are no longer responding to Category 3 incidents the condition is not being enforced.’

Derby Railway Angling Club have now written to EMA pointing out that the containment and treatment measures at the airport lags far behind other airports owned by the Manchester Airports Group.

Fish Legal believes that the Environment Agency’s ongoing investigation into these claims could take years and means the organisation is unlikely to respond to requests for visitation or to review the permit.

Gary Cyster, from Derby Railway Angling Club, said: ‘The EA issued a warning letter in 2019, did nothing in 2020, are “still investigating” the breach of the permit in 2021 and have refused to confirm if they consider the incident reported earlier this year as a permit failure. That is all well and good, but what we want to see is evidence of the pollution stop so that the river and its wildlife can recover.’

In response to these claims the Environment Agency said: ‘We can confirm that we are investigating the discharge of waste water from East Midlands Airport into the River Trent. 

‘We take all reports of pollution seriously and members of the public can report environmental incidents to our 24/7 hotline on 0800 807060.’

Picture by Derby Railway Angling Club 


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top