A while ago, at the request of residents and Newport Parish Council I attempted to establish the ownership of the Market Weighton canal, who was responsible for the banks, who owned the fishing rights, and what happened to the money paid by people to fish.
Ownership was transferred to the predecessors of The Environment Agency in 1951, and was, and continues to be limited to the bed of the canal, stretching from the disused Sodhouses Lock (near Wholsea Grange) in the north, to Weighton Lock as the canal joins the Humber in the south.
The Environment Agency does not own the banks of the canal apart from four small areas of land which were purchased by predecessor bodies, as follows:
1. Land around Weighton Lock
2. Land each side of the canal at Oxmadike Marr (to the north of the railway line)
3. Land at the junction of the canal and the River Foulness.
4. A small area of land in Newport, on the left bank of the canal just to the North of the B1230 (Main Road).
Until a few years ago, Hull and District Anglers Association paid rent to the Environment Agency and its predecessors. The Anglers Association requested fishing platforms to be built but the Environment Agency however were unsure of who owned the canal banks, and from this time on, the Association refused to pay rent to the Agency presumably because they assumed that if the Agency did not own the banks then they did not own the fishing rights, although this has not stopped the Anglers Association continuing to charge people for fishing. Even today I was able to buy a Temporary Membership Permit/ticket for £4 (see below) enabling me to fish for the day.
The Agency now take the view that, as owner of the bed of the canal, they are able to assert an exclusive right to the actual fishery, even if they cannot provide fishing platforms without the consent of the people who own the canal banks. They have assured me that they will look into the matter of regularising the situation with the Hull and District Anglers Association, and I hope the appropriate rents can be levied on them without delay, and these rents be backdated to reflect the fact the Hull and District Anglers Association has, and continue to charge for fishing.
It is worth noting that although the Agency’s ownership does not (for the most part) extend to the banks of the canal, their position as an authority which regulates ‘main rivers’ means that they have a considerable amount of control over what the owners of the banks and the adjoining land can actually do with their land, as they require the Agency’s permission/consent for most actions within the eight metre byelaw strip. But this is another story.......