Anglers halt canal restoration

Published: Thursday, 15 July 2010

THE UK angling association Fish Legal, in a test case, has warned the Northern Ireland Government that it faces legal action for what it sees as unlawful action in restoring the Lagan Canal.

The development under threat is the work that  involves straightening the navigation, dredging the river bed and introducing a series of weirs and locks to enable boats to cruise from Lough Neagh to Belfast Lough, Alan Tilbury reveals.

The photograph shows work on Lock 3 of the Lagan Canal.

Environmental lawyers at Fish Legal, the organisation which represents anglers throughout the UK wherever their fisheries are under threat, have contacted the Minister stressing that there has been no proper assessment of the impact that the restoration would have on fish and the migratory salmon in the river and that work already completed is  unlawful.

Direct contravention

With Fish Legal believing that the Government is acting in direct contravention of European legislation which requires all infrastructure projects—including those carried out on inland waterways—to undergo a proper Environmental Impact Assessment, this could have a bearing on our restorations where anglers are established.

The Lagan Canal Restoration Trust has been set up to oversee the project, drawing trustees from each of the four Councils through which the Lagan passes together with the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland and Ulster Waterways Group,