High Court ruling a ‘Landmark Victory’ for Fish Legal
Fish Legal and Pickering Fishery Association have won what they describe as a landmark judicial review in the High Court against the Government and the Environment Agency because of their defective river improvement plans.
The High Court ruled that the Government and the Environment Agency had failed in their mandatory legal duties to review, update and put in place measures to restore rivers and other water bodies under the Water Framework Directive Regulations.
In what they describe as a damning judgement, believed to be the most significant UK Court ruling on the Water Framework Directive since the river basin planning process commenced in 2003, the court found in favour of the angling club on each of its argued grounds.
Fish Legal, acting on behalf of the Pickering Fishery Association, brought a legal challenge to the Government’s deficient River Basin Management Plan for the Humber district, as signed off by then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Therese Coffey, and published in December 2022.
The ruling, which is expected to be contested by the Government and Environment Agency, could have ‘huge implications’ for an estimated 4,928 other bodies of water which are covered by the directive.
Fish Legal Chairman George Graham told the Annual Meeting of Fish Legal on November 25: “If the decision is upheld the Government and Environment Agency will have to do a lot more work on those 4,928 water bodies which are covered by the directive” adding that this would be at a time when the Environment Agency’s budget has been “slashed ruthlessly” by the Government over the past 10 years.