Building Bridges on the Nene


The Angling Trust’s Building Bridges project was established in 2010 in response to a growing concern expressed by anglers in the UK about inappropriate and/or illegal fishing by anglers from other countries, notably in continental Europe. Part of the issue has been the different cultural background and regulations for anglers from countries such as Poland and Lithuania than for those from the UK.

Nene Bridge pic

Within the East of England, Peterborough and it’s surrounding area has attracted a high influx of both Polish and Lithuanian families, with it’s strong links to agricultural  employment in the area.

Over recent years local anglers have voiced their concerns over this and it leading to several escalations to their elected representatives, both within the sport and politically.

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The Angling Trust Building Bridges project clearly focuses on these issues, but in the past has been limited in terms of resources and effort needed to both understand the underlying causes and find a sustainable solution for all concerned.

This is where an approach to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Landscape Partnership Scheme brought together by AT Regional Chair Kelvin Allen, has enabled  a solution across the Nene Valley to be brought together and in Jan 2016 the Nenescape partnership was launched with £208,000 covering 16 development partnership projects – covering a range of topics from introducing a Nene Valley Festival, to exploring the regions roman history.

Nenescape logo

Anecdotal evidence from the Angling Trust suggest that British anglers in the area feel that there is a persistent problem of poor or illegal practices by those from continental Europe, and that from all migrant communities  there is a lack of integration of anglers from diverse backgrounds.

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As such there is a need for greater knowledge about the perceived problems, actual problems experienced and bring potential solutions to better integrate anglers from the UK and those from continental Europe.


Building Bridges is one of these 16 such projects within the Nenescape partnership and has secured £25,000 of development funding with a potential delivery fund of £210,000 from Nov 2017 if a successful outcome is achieved from the initial development work.

The development work will be limited to two things:

Undertake a survey of the angling communities across and Nene Valley and surrounding area.

The recruitment of a further Building Bridges Officer to drive the survey into the respective Polish and Lithuanian communities with alternative paper based surveys.

Szymon Skoczen a Polish speaker from Peterborough was recruited in April. Szymon, a keen local angler, will work alongside the existing building bridges team and ensure we get the appropriate response from the Polish and Lithuanian communities. On a subject that they have never before been formally asked an opinion on.

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Szymon Skoczen – Building Bridges Officer

The wider survey been developed by Substance, assisted by Building Bridges Project Manager Rado Papiewski, and Kelvin Allen, Angling Trust Regional Chairman – who has secured agreement with the Environment Agency to allow us access to rod licence holders’ email addresses within Nenescape (and surrounding radial boundaries up to a potential 30 miles from either Peterborough or Northampton).

The survey will have electronic means of accessing the following rod licence holders, providing both email addresses and agreement to share their data have been provided, (around 60% of licence holders). They will in turn be invited to complete the survey online via a web link to either an English, Polish or Lithuanian translated version of the survey. The survey should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete.

Nenescape Distance Population Potential Rod Licence Holders (1.7%) Actual Sourced Email Addresses Potential Survey Response (10%)
UK Wide 63138237 1073350
< 30 miles 4475301 76080 43028 4303
< 20 miles 2468302 41961 25124 2512
< 15 miles 1331376 22633 14242 1424
< 10 miles 933233 15865 9911 991
Nenescape 676819 11506 6893 689



  • Understand more about the profile of anglers in the Nene Valley from both ‘British’ and ‘non-British’ (mostly continental European) backgrounds.
  • Understand more about the perceptions these groups, particularly in relation to:
    • The habits and actions of anglers in both groups and what these perceptions are based on
    • The extent of ‘integration’, willingness to increase integration and barriers to this
    • The extent of understanding of different regulations, laws, bylaws and techniques
  • Understanding more about volunteering amongst anglers in the area:
    • Levels of participation in volunteering
    • Willingness to participate in volunteering
    • How volunteering can be encouraged
  • Understand more about the environmental concerns of anglers in the area.
  • Provide the evidence to develop the project into delivery phase providing solutions to the issues exposed within the survey.


Delivery Outcomes

These have still to be formally decided, but could range from a number of options.

  • More Environment Engagement
  • River restoration working parties
  • Teaching angling rules within he school Curriculum
  • Joint angling competitions
  • Media engagement on the community issues and challenges

Wider Outcomes

  • For the Angling Trust this provides a scalable model that could be transposed to wider communities.
  • It looks at the strategic issues rather than picking up the aftermath
  • It demonstrates that AT can work outside the EA and bring new sources of funds to angling issues.
  • It works alongside and complements the Voluntary Bailiff Service
  • It is factually evidence based


Kelvin Allen & Dilip Sarkar

July 2016




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