AFTER the controversy of the Environment Agency’s tree felling exercise last year they are once again getting under the skin of every angler, angling club or association in the country.

This time it is by increasing the cost of a Habitat Improvement Permit that enables angling clubs to undertake relatively minor bank side and river bed work with the ultimate aim of improving the fishing and the environment in general.

Up to the end of 2016 a permit cost just £50. In 2017 it was increased to £170 plus a compliance charge of £70 and now the proposal is to increase the cost to £1,500 or even more.

The proposed charge does not distinguish between work carried out basically for free by members of an angling club and work carried out on a larger scale by the private sector.

If the proposal is implemented then almost all small scale improvement work undertaken by members of angling clubs will come to an end with the environment and fishing the poorer for it.

Objections to the proposals need to be sent by January 26 and the quickest way is to view the Skipton Angling Association Groups Page on Facebook.

Here the Wildtrout Trust gives further details of the proposals, their own objection and a sample objection via the links shown (

Once again the weather has hampered local fishing and very few anglers have been in action.

On the odd day that conditions have been favourable, one or two good fish have been recorded from the river Aire, including a 740g grayling and a 1,880g chub landed by Mark Fielding and a friend. Another good catch of bream was taken by Ernie Ramsbotham from the canal with an estimated weight of over 14kg which included nine fish around the 1360g plus several smaller fish.

Future prospects will depend very much on the weather although there is a chance of milder but unfortunately wetter conditions which does not auger well for river fishing.