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EU Judgment paves the way for UK Water Industry to come clean about its dirty secrets

20.12.13

Logan Water silt



Scottish Water has paid £5,000 to the United Clyde Angling Protective Association for polluting the Logan Water in South Lanarkshire with silt. Scottish Water resisted repeated requests for compensation, but settled shortly before the case was to be heard at the Lanark Sheriff Court. Lawyers from the angling conservation body Fish Legal, issued the Utility with a claim on behalf of the Association.

Scottish Water was carrying out engineering works on the Logan Reservoir in May 2008 when it inadvertently released a vast quantity of silt, which filled the river to a depth of up to 30 centimetres along one and half kilometres of the Logan Water.  The silt smothered gravel on the riverbed, which is a vital habitat for invertebrates (the main source of food for fish) and where fish lay their eggs.

The United Clyde Angling Protective Association, which has extensive fishings on the upper Clyde, had written to Scottish Water prior to the start of the engineering works to warn them of the risk of sediment escape, and advising them to take proper precautions.

The Association is one of more than 1,000 angling club and fishery owner members of Fish Legal in the UK who benefit from free legal action if waters they own or lease are damaged by pollution or other issues. Fish Legal is fighting more than 60 cases throughout the UK on behalf of members, which is funded by collective subscriptions from its club and fishery members and from nearly 13,500 individual anglers who support its work with an annual subscription. Fish Legal has a fighting fund which means that it can meet the costs of losing cases, but it has only ever lost four cases in 65 years, and has settled thousands of claims on behalf of its members.

Robert Younger from Fish Legal said: "We believe that a public utility like Scottish Water should take responsibility when it causes damage to its neighbours. It is a shame that we had to drag them to the court doors before they would pay our claim in full."

Joe Quigley from UCAPA said: "We thank Fish Legal for settling the matter on our behalf. If Scottish Water had taken heed of my letter advising them to take proper precautions  it would have saved them a great deal of money."

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