Tag Archives: Environment

New River Forecasts For North East Communities

The Environment Agency has made 36-hour river level forecasts available online for two communities

Environment Agency

Environment Agency

A new service which allows people to get forecasts for river levels to help them plan for flooding is available for two locations in the North East.

It is being provided by the Environment Agency on the gov.uk website for the River Tyne at Hexham, Northumberland, and Lustrum Beck at Stockton-on-Tees.

All communities can see observed data for river levels for the past five days. Now people living in these two areas can also see their future flood risk in a 36-hour river level forecast.

The aim is to help communities be more aware of their flood risk and be able to plan for potential flooding incidents. The new river forecasts are calculated by computer models that take into account data like current flows and expected rainfall.

Forecast information can change quickly so people are still advised to sign up for the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service to ensure they are notified if a warning is issued for their community.

And residents and businesses can still get the most up-to-date and accurate situation from the live online map which updates every 15 minutes and details the current Severe Flood Warnings, Flood Warnings and Alerts in place.

Help residents manage flood risk

Phil Taylor, from the Environment Agency’s Flood Resilience Team in the North East, said:

We are always looking at ways to use technology to better share information with people, and residents have told us that they would find it really useful to see these forecasts to help them manage their flood risk.

We want people to know if they are at risk of flooding, be prepared, and take action to protect themselves and their families. A wealth of information is available on our website for people to find out if they are at risk and understand how to prepare.

Everything residents and businesses need to know about how to check their risk and prepare for flooding is online on the Floods Destroy website.

The new 36-hour river forecasting for Hexham and Stockton can be found online at:

Lustrum Beck, Stockton-On-Tees and River Tyne at Hexham

The plan is to continue to refine the service based on feedback from users before rolling it out to other areas in the future.

People who live in areas where the 36-hour forecast is not available can still view data on river levels from the previous five days.

Environment Agency Says That A Different Approach Is Needed To Tackle Flooding Over Next 50 Years

The Environment Agency's Chief Executive Sir James Bevan has highlighted the need for a new approach in his keynote speech at the annual Flood and Coast Conference

A different approach is needed to tackle flooding over next 50 years, Environment Agency Chief Executive James Bevan has said today

A different approach is needed to tackle flooding over next 50 years, Environment Agency Chief Executive James Bevan has said today

  • Country is better protected than ever against flooding
  • Every £1 invested in flood schemes saves £10 in damages avoided
  • During this century a new approach is needed to tackle flood risk in 21st Century

Over the next century a different approach is needed to protect the country from flooding, the Environment Agency’s Chief Executive said in a keynote speech at the annual Flood and Coast Conference today (Tuesday 20 March).

As he revealed that every £1 invested in new flood schemes saves the economy £10 in damages avoided, Sir James Bevan said that despite huge advances in flood protection, what worked so well in the past will not be enough in the future. Rising sea levels and higher populations in built-up areas will mean new approaches are needed to combat increasing flood risk. Since 2015, new flood schemes completed by the Environment Agency have benefitted more than 100,000 homes but to continue building on this success new 21st century approaches are needed.

These include a call for greater business investment, quicker emergency response and increased use of natural flood schemes, in addition to ‘hard’ defences, in order to reduce the impact of flooding on communities around the country. He questioned how these challenges should be dealt with and suggest that more concrete – simply building our flood defences higher and higher – is not the answer.

As he laid out his thoughts on the future of flood protection, Sir James Bevan said that tough questions had to be asked about what to protect. He questioned whether there might be a case for considering future funding priorities.

He said that everyone has a part to play to reduce flood risk and that homeowners in flood risk areas should know the risks and what action they can take – and he praised communities and flood groups who have already taken great steps in this area.

Sir James Bevan said:

Almost every day in this country, when rivers and tides rise, rain falls and storms blow, thousands of people sleep safe and unaware that they are being protected by flood defences.

But what works so well now – and has done in the past – may not be enough in the future. Over the next fifty years if we are going to give the country the best possible protection against flooding, we are going to need a different approach.

The Environment Agency manages flood risk on over 36,000 km of river, 9,000km raised flood defences and over 22,000 flood structures – from the Thames Barrier to local pumping stations. Since 2016, it has upgraded its response capability with more than 6,500 staff trained and ready to help protect communities when floods threaten, 40km of temporary barriers, 250 mobile pumps, and 500,000 sandbags. Partnerships to help respond during incidents have also been strengthened – including with the army.

Government is investing £2.6 billion in flood and coastal erosion risk management projects between 2015 and 2021.

Now in its third year, the annual Flood and Coast Conference brings together experts from across the globe to share ideas and opportunities to work together to tackle the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. More on the conference here: https://www.floodandcoast.com.

The Environment Agency is currently working in its next National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy which will address these challenging questions raised in Sir James Bevan’s speech.

Humane Trapping Standards: Consultation Starts

A consultation on implementation of the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards in the UK has started and views are now being sought

Department For Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Department For Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The Government has today (19 March) launched a public consultation on the introduction of new and improved international humane trapping standards.

Views are being sought on the implementation proposals for the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards and to gather information on the supply, use and marking of traps to better inform impact assessment.

These measures will ensure gamekeepers, country estates and pest control companies are trapping certain species of animals in a humane fashion. Depending on the responses to the consultation, Government wants to implement the new standards on 1 January 2019.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

We are committed to supporting a strong rural economy and upholding countryside traditions and we want to do this in a way that respects wildlife and the environment.

I would therefore encourage people with an interest in this area to contribute their views.

Today’s consultation is asking for views from the gamekeeping sector, trap retailers, manufacturers and importers, pest control companies, country estates/farms, and importers of products derived from trapped animals.

People can respond using the Citizen Space survey.

The Government will respond to the consultation shortly after the six-week consultation ends.

Anglers Reminded Close Season Runs From 15 March To 15 June

The Environment Agency reminds anglers the close season runs 15 March - 15 June

Close season starts

Close season starts

No fishing for coarse fish in rivers from 15 March to 15 June

The Environment Agency is reminding anglers the ‘close season’ for coarse fish in rivers comes into effect today (Thursday 15 March) and runs until 15 June. The close season prevents fishing for coarse fish, like barbel and chub, for 3 months to give the fish a chance to breed. The close season applies to all rivers, streams and drains in England but does not apply to most still-waters and canals.

During the close season Environment Agency enforcement offices along with support from the Angling Trusts Voluntary Water Bailiffs will be out on rivers and streams making sure people are observing the close season. They will also be checking lakes and ponds to make sure people who are fishing have a valid rod licence. Anyone fishing without a fishing licence can expected to be prosecuted.

Kevin Austin, Deputy Director, Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment, said:

Our job is to protect fish stocks and improve fisheries. This includes rescuing fish in distress, improving habitat and restocking rivers with 450,000 fish a year. The majority of anglers, who fish legally, rightly demand that we take action to catch offenders.

Our enforcement officers, supported by Angling Trust voluntary bailiffs, will be targeting illegal fishing. We urge anyone to report illegal fishing as quickly as possible by calling our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Last year the Environment Agency Enforcement Officers ran 670 close season patrols, reporting 122 anglers for illegally fishing in the close season.

Coarse fishing is still allowed on most still waters and canals, depending on fishery owner agreement, though a valid fishing licence is still required. You can check which still waters and canals still have a close season in operation by checking the byelaws which apply in your area at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-fishing-byelaws. We will be finalising a review of the close season on rivers during 2018. Any changes that arise from this review will be implemented in 2019.

Anyone who wants to go fishing needs to buy a fishing licence. A full annual licence costs £30 (short term and some concessionary licences are also available) and are available online at www.gov.uk/get-a-fishing-licence.

Military Grade Underwater Cameras Working To End Illegal Fishing For Eels In The Fens

Environment Agency fisheries enforcement staff are using new underwater sonar technology to tackle illegal fishing for eels in the Fens

Sonar image of an eel 'Fyke' net

Sonar image of an eel ‘Fyke’ net

Fisheries enforcement staff at the Environment Agency have been working with new underwater sonar technology to assess fish populations, especially where it’s hard to use classic methods like netting and electric fishing. The technology is also being put to excellent use elsewhere and giving us eyes underwater as well as above.

Our fisheries enforcement work helps to protect the environment and ensure fisheries income is generated through rod licence sales. All anglers require an Environment Agency rod licence to fish in England and Wales. The Environment Agency also lead on the enforcement of permits for migratory species like eels, smelt and lamprey. Regular auditing of these fisheries is essential to ensure protection of these iconic and in the case of eel – a critically endangered species; but also to ensure that the activity is regulated and sustainable.

Illegal eel fishing is a priority for the Environment Agency who are the lead organisation responsible for the conservation of this now endangered species. The eel stock is in decline, recruitment is at an all-time low, and exploitation of the stock is currently unsustainable. We regulate the fishing industry, which is carried out by only a handful of licensed fishermen. We also protect eel habitat, improve passage allowing ore access for eels further upstream and regulate other activities that might impact on each life stage of the species. While the West of England has issues with elver fishing – the capture of tiny juvenile eels returning from the America’s for a global market, in the East the fens provide excellent habitat for mature eels, vital in supporting this European species. Adult “silver” eels will return to the Sargasso Sea as their final life stage to spawn and much of our enforcement work protects this phase.

Our new sonar equipment has allowed us to see, with amazing clarity, where we’ve never been able to before – under the water.

This makes checking for nets, especially illegal equipment, much easier and makes us more efficient and in some cases 100% effective. A recent audit of a river near Kings Lynn resulted in a record illegal eel net seizure; 16 nets in total capable of significantly impacting an emigrating eel population – hundreds of eels were released. The nets were removed and we worked with Norfolk police to investigate the case.

Using boat mounted sonar equipment we can travel up to 10km per day, checking every inch of channel for illegal and submerged equipment. This is our greatest weapon in halting the illegal exploitation of eels and gives us a chance to completely rid waters of illegal instruments. We are using this technology to regulate other areas of illegal fishing including poaching, netting and trapping. You can see from the images how easy it is for us to spot illegal equipment, here both ends of an eel “fyke” net can be clearly seen stretching across the river channel. We use boats and specially trained enforcement staff to check traps and remove any illegal ones we find.

Anyone fishing for eels should be permitted, be fishing within the conditions of the licence, and nets must include visible and valid tags, as well as being equipped with otter guards too.

Any suspected illegal fishing activity should be reported to the Environment Agency’s Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Anyone wishing to fish for migratory species including eels should visit Permission to trap crayfish, eels, elvers, salmon and sea trout.

All anglers need a valid Environment Agency rod licence which can be bought using a credit or debit card by calling the Environment Agency’s telesales line on 0344 800 5386. Alternatively, they can be obtained from any Post Office or visit: Buy a rod fishing licence

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