A Welsh council drained a lake without warning and allegedly killed the fish

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Lake before and after it was drained

Caerphilly county borough council drained Deri Lake, near Bargoed which contained fish and they did so without notifying the Rhymney Valley and District Angling Society. We don’t know why they drained the lake but allegedly the fish in it were sucked into the drainage pipe until there was only 6 inches of water remaining with some fish suffocating in the oozy mess that remained.

Lake before and after it was drained

Lake before and after it was drained. Photos in public domain. Montage: AHR.

The lake had been stocked with fish by the angling society so they knew there were fish in it and therefore it is a reasonable presumption that they were killed. The council did not inform the society that they were going to drain the lake and as a consequence the anglers sued the council for compensation. They were successful although it took seven years which is an extraordinary length of time., but it shows great persistence on behalf of the anglers. They were awarded £30,000 in damages plus an estimated £60,000 in legal costs.

The council persistently claimed that there was no proof that fish had been lost but the judge clearly decided that they had. The anglers’ legal representative said, “It didn’t warn the club, and it opened an outlet pipe through which fish were sucked until there was only 6 inches of water remaining”.

A local councillor, Nigel Dix, said: “Caerphilly Council need to start working with people rather than against them. In the long run, this issue has cost taxpayers £90,000 which could have been invested into services”.

Comment: both the anglers and the council are in the wrong from the standpoint of animal welfare. The judge decided that the fish had been killed because of the careless and high-handed attitude of the council. The anglers take pleasure from catching fish. They probably put them back but the fish are injured by the hook and it is known that fish feel pain and that their ability to survive is slightly reduced after an injury in the mouth by an angler’s rod and line. The before and after pictures are distressing.

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