Anglers could be prosecuted under new byelaw

ANGLERS who impede the flow of water or damage a river bank, may be prosecuted by Wiltshire Council in future.

A new drainage byelaw is being proposed by the council in bid to reduce flooding and protect watercourses. Anglers are among those included in its provisions, along with others using rivers and streams.

The move was approved by the council’s environment select committee last month and consultation on the measures is set to begin in the spring, if the full council decides to go ahead.

The byelaw will make it an offence to interfere without permission with watercourses in the control of the council by increasing flow, altering sluices or stopping up.

The byelaw will also cover damage to watercourses or their banks by: discharging “detrimental substances”; lighting fires; cutting vegetation; repairing buildings; controlling vermin; permitting damage to banks by animals or vehicles; dredging; cutting turf; constructing jetties; failing to remove sunken vessels and breaking a waterway’s speed limit. A system of arbitration is included in the provisions.

If the final version is approved by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, anyone breaking the new byelaw could be prosecuted in the magistrates courts.

Councillor Jonathan Seed, the Wiltshire Council Cabinet member responsible for dealing with flooding, said the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 allowed councils to make such byelaws, which were needed as part of a £500,000 investment into flood management. He said: “Flooding is a serious issue in Wiltshire.”

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