The Environment Agency has lifted restrictions on fishing and angling that were put in place amid the coronavirus lockdown.
These restrictions have been lifted due to new guidance that was announced by Boris Johnson on Sunday, that allows people to go outside for unlimited exercise, and even see a member of another household, so long as social distancing is maintained.
Although they have lifted restrictions, which means people can fish freely so long as they have the required licences, the agency is encouraging people who may head out to do so with care, and to maintain social distancing.
A statement from the Environment Agency said: “We know how much you’ve all been waiting to get back out onto the banks safely.
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“So we wanted to let you know that the Government’s latest review of lockdown restrictions means that we can all do exactly that from today, Wednesday 13 May, in England only (the situation in Wales is being clarified, visit Natural Resources Wales for the latest position).
“This decision recognises the fact that fishing can be done safely while still adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“Obviously this is great news for the entire angling community, but it’s vital that when we do go fishing, we all do so responsibly and safely in order to continue playing our own part in protecting ourselves, others and key public services.
“As we start returning to the banks, it’s really important to follow the latest guidance on social distancing which remain in place. More detailed information on how to fish safely at this time can be found on the Angling Trust website.”
The Environment Agency also reminds people to make sure their licence is still valid before heading out, and notes that all the usual byelaws, rules and regulations are still relevant.
The statement said: “Please don’t forget to check that your licence is still valid before you head out. If your licence has expired, you can renew your licence at GOV.UK. You’ll still need permission from the fisheries owner to go fishing and all byelaws, rules and regulations including the Close Season are still applicable at this time.”
The updated guidelines which came into effect at 12.01am on Wednesday include allowing people to spend more time outside, meet a friend or relative in a public space and doing unlimited exercise, but all must be done while maintaining social distancing rules and keeping two metres apart from others.
Limits on how far people can travel have also been lifted, although people have been told to respect local communities, keep their distance from others and avoid hot spots or busy areas.