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Angling: Licensing

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 29th April 2008, Official Report, columns 280-1W, on angling: licensing, what the reason for the significant rise in the concessionary duty rates for rod licences is. (204210)

The Environment Agency is under no legal obligation to offer any concessions at all, and has publicly stated that it will use a significant proportion of the monies raised by the higher duty rates to continue to improve access to angling for the disabled and senior anglers.

The Environment Agency carried out its own research into these concessions in relation to those offered by other organisations. The research revealed that the typical concession offered by others is 0 to 10 per cent. and that the revised level of 33 per cent. is still generous in comparison. The concessionary rate will be reviewed again in 2010 along with the other rod and net licence duties.

The Environment Agency faces challenges to implement the EU recovery plan for stocks of European eel in England and Wales, to take forward work on conservation of stocks of Atlantic salmon and sea-trout, and to comply with measures to implement EU rules on the control of fish diseases. Anglers have asked the Environment Agency to increase its focus on enforcing illegal fishing, and the Agency also has a corporate target to increase participation in angling by 2 per cent. a year.

Unless its income is increased to cover inflationary pressures, the Environment Agency would have to cut its services to anglers. For it to maintain its targets the Environment Agency must fully assess all its income sources, and adjust them where necessary to reflect its statutory obligations.