HC Deb 28 November 1968 vol 774 cc713-4
29. Mr. Robert Howarth

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what requests he has received from angling clubs or their associations for assistance to help meet the increasing demand for this pastime; and what reply he has sent.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Denis Howell)

Applications for grants have been received from 28 local angling clubs in England and Wales. Grants totalling £36,136 have been offered to 14 clubs, 9 applications are still under consideration and 5 have been refused.

Mr. Howarth

I appreciate the scale of assistance which has already been given, but does my hon. Friend accept that this sport is supported by millions of our fellow citizens, and is worthy of even greater support than that already indicated?

Mr. Howell

I think it is true to say that there are about 3 million anglers in this country, which means that there are more anglers than there are people who participate in all other sports put together. The scheme is there, we constantly draw attention to its provisions, and it is up to those interested to apply if they wish to come within its provisions.

Mr. Dance

Does the Minister agree that the greatest help would be given to anglers by the pursuit of a policy of doing away with the pollution of rivers?

Mr. Howell

I believe this to be the case. It is one reason why the Govern- ment sponsored the National Angling Council and hope to assist it in research precisely towards this end.

30. Mr. Robert Howarth

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will seek powers to accept applications from angling clubs who are displaced by national or local government developments for compensation and assistance in the search for alternative waters.

Mr. Denis Howell

No. Sir.

Mr. Howarth

Will my hon. Friend consider the problems in industrial areas where stretches of canals used by angling clubs increasingly come under the pressure of development? Will he reconsider his Answer in view of those problems?

Mr. Howell

No. The scheme is designed for the creation of more sports facilities where they do not already exist. We cannot possibly extend it, especially in these days when in most cases there are powers to pay compensation for the removal of existing facilities.

Mr. Morrison

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied, in view of the great demand, that the potential for angling on reservoirs is being fully exploited?

Mr. Howell

I hope very much that the regional sports councils, in association with the British Waterworks Association and the local authorities are continuously trying to open up new waters for the large number of people who want these opportunities.