• KWVR at Haworth

  • Rodley Nature Reserve Fish Pass

    Rodley Nature Reserve Fish Pass

  • Green Ripples

  • Castleford Millenium Bridge

  • River Aire at Ferrybridge

  • Malham Cove

  • Saltaire

Category Archives: Fish Passes

Sometimes the cost is too high – refusing a grant

Refusing money
Sometimes the cost is too high

I have just done something rather unusual for a charity. I have turned down the offer of a £23,766 grant.

Why would I do that? Firstly because the grant awarding body was not prepared to pay the cost of the work required. Secondly because they would not contribute to our corporate overheads (Full Cost Recovery). Thirdly because the contractual conditions were such as to expose a small charity to unacceptable risk.

For months now we have been working in partnership with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and The Wild Trout Trust to develop a bid to the Water Environment Grant (I won’t link there because you really do not want to know about it!). We have spent days, probably weeks, working out the finest detail of the scheme in order to satisfy the somewhat onerous requirements of the submission. Anyone familiar with the Rural PaymentsAgency (who ultimately ‘own’ this fund), or who has heard tales from farmers of the inefficiency, nitpicking and intransigence of RPA, may know how difficult a process it has been. Anyway, we put together our partnership project valued at ca. £170,000 and sent it off. Detailed queries were responded to and we waited, then waited, then waited some more. Indeed, we waited over three months after the decisions were expected and were delighted when we got an offer. Until we opened the letter that is, when we found that we had been offered only £100,000 between us. One partner, us, were offered only 35% of our bid with a requirement to deliver 75% of the required outputs!

To say that I am outraged, annoyed and frustrated is being polite. VERY polite!

So why am I upset?

Part, £250, of our bid was rejected because we did not have competitive quotations for refreshments for volunteers.

Part, £8,500, was intended to provide for social media and other advertising, promotion to aid volunteer recruitment and recognise the contribution of the funder. ZIP. We don’t need to do this apparently ,even though volunteers were core to our bid and they WERE prepared to pay for brand development (but where would we then use the brand?)!

Some of the contractual terms were outrageous:

  1. You will accept unlimited liability in perpetuity for your work
  2. If we run out of money we do not have to pay you
  3. You must do exactly what you said you would and any variation, even in an emergency, needs approval in advance.

Would you accept such an offer? Do these people have any understanding of the impact of their decisions on small charities? Who hold them to account for the consequences of their action?

I would like to pay tribute to the several colleagues in YWT, WTT and the EA who helped us through a challenging time. I won’t name them because this is my rant not theirs, they know who they are and they know how much I value their help.

The only upside – we now have some well developed projects in respect of which we can apply for funding elsewhere.

Is the Environment Agency fit for purpose?

According to Unearthed, possibly not. According to the Environment Agency, yes. According to me, well read on and see…in particular I want to comment on the Unearthed article which, while having a core of truth is guilty of misrepresentation in places. Staff reductions Let’s start with the gross misrepresentation of “nearly 1,000 EA staff –… Continue Reading

Spawning Season for Trout

If you build it, they will come…. The ‘Field of Dreams’ hypothesis often used by conservationists is certainly bearing fruit on our river. According to members of Bradford City Angling Association (http://www.bradfordcityaa.co.uk/fly-fishing/), who have been doing lots of sterling work to improve habitat in both the river and along the banks of the Aire near… Continue Reading

2017 – An important year for River Aire fish passage

  2017 – An important year for River Aire fish passage Work has been going on for a number of years to improve fish passage for migratory fish in the Aire below Leeds. This work has provided fish passes at Castleford, Lemonroyd, Fleet, Rothwell Country Park and Thwaite Mills. Fish passes are required on a… Continue Reading

Chapel Haddlesey update

Work on the weir at Chapel Haddlesey continues apace with some serious excavations adjacent to the weir. At the bottom of this post is an update from UK Hydro, the company which is building the hydro and fish pass on Chapel Haddlesey (CH) Weir. The weir is the bottom weir on the River Aire and… Continue Reading

Improving Eastburn Beck

The first stages of the project work to improve the river and riparian habitats along Eastburn Beck at Lyndhurst Wood, Glusburn (reported here in February) began on Wednesday 10th August. The Wild Trout Trust and the Environment Agency will be notching six of the low weirs by cutting narrow sections out of each weir crest.… Continue Reading

DNAire bid submitted

Last week, the Environment Agency submitted our DNAire bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. This is a very important step in our desire to restore salmon to the river and re-engage the community through a £4 million river-wide project. The bid summary states: ‘Developing the Natural Aire’ is for 570,000 people in the project area.… Continue Reading