Local angling club angry over airport pollution in river

An angling club have sent reports of pollution of the River Trent to the Environment Agency for over a decade, with evidence of aircraft de-icing chemicals in the water.  

Derby Railway Angling Club believe the chemicals are coming from nearby East Midlands Airport (EMA) into the river in Leicestershire.

The group say they are dissatisfied with the Environment Agency’s response so far, as every report of pollution they’ve sent has been considered minimal and a Category 3 event.  

The public body has stated it will no longer attend Category 3 and 4 events, as these are considered to be low level pollution events.  

Fish Legal, which represents the fishing club, say that the EMA have an environmental permit, so any reports of pollution must be investigated according to the Environment Agency’s own policies.

Geoff Hardy, Solicitor at Fish Legal said:It’s not just sewage that affects the UK’s rivers. Pollution can come from a variety of sources. Whatever those are, we need an environmental regulator who acts to stop chronic, low-level pollution when it occurs.  Fish Legal has now written to the Area Director of the Environment Agency asking for a genuine and meaningful revision of the environmental permit of East Midlands Airport addressing the water quality issue arising from the airport’s use of de-icers.

De-icing chemicals are commonly used in airports to help planes take off in snowy or icy conditions.

When in contact with water, these chemicals can reduce oxygen levels and cause ecological damage which can lead to fish death.

At least seven protected fish species, including critically endangered eels and spined loach, live in the River Trent.

The pollution there has caused an excessive growth of fungus on the riverbed over 170-metres downstream of the airport discharge.

Gary Cyster from the Derby Railway Angling Club, said:It is astonishing that both EMA and the Environment Agency think that is perfectly acceptable to discharge an effluent contaminated with de-icers with a Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) in excess of 500 mg/l to the River Trent and that this effluent is untreated.

We expect the Environment Agency to protect the fish in our rivers from pollution. But instead, they hand out permits like this that are nothing more than a licence to pollute.’

A spokesperson for the EMA has since responded to the claims.

They said: ‘We are currently cooperating with the Environment Agency as it investigates a potential breach of our environmental water discharge permit. We responded quickly to address concerns and continue to rigorously monitor our performance. We look forward to working with the Environment Agency and other local stakeholders as we put in place a programme of continuous improvement.’

Photo provided by the Derby Railway Angling Club


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