A group of North Yorkshire fishermen are taking the Environment Agency to court for not acting against water companies and other polluters.

Martin Smith, who used to run a company which made operating manuals for Thames Water, believes poor maintenance contributes to national problems.

He is the secretary of Pickering Fishery in North Yorkshire and he thinks the EA is 'not doing their job properly'.

Mr Smith does not blame the employees or the EA or Yorkshire Water but rather the system which 'seems to be designed to create problems'.

The Pickering Fishery Association is being represented by Fish Legal.

On July 12 and 13 Mr Smith will be travelling to the Royal Courts in London to argue that the EA is not following its own procedures. 

He said: "The Environment Agency are not doing their job properly. 

"Yorkshire Water are still doing things illegally. 

"The EA have told us that if YW applied now to put a sewage treatment plant in the Costa beck they would not allow it.

"Separately someone in YW told me that if they were ordered by the EA to move the plant they would have to.

"When I put that to the EA they said that it works by consent between the two parties and that 'it was complicated'.

"It should never have been put there in the first place. 

"If it's not appropriate to be there why is it left there?

"That's why we are taking the EA to court. They are not protecting that river."

Mr Smith clarified that he held no ill will to the workers at the EA or YW and that he believed 'none of them want to be harming our waterways'.

He added: "It isn't the workers that are the problem.

"It is the general ill maintenance of our sewage systems that is just getting worse and worse.

"It used to be that each sewage treatment centre had a maintenance worker who was dedicated to that place. 

"They would look after their plant and take real pride and joy in it.

"Now we have moved away from that and the only time plants get looked at is when they are in dire states.

"We have moved away from preventative care to reactive firefighting."

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A DEFRA spokesperson said: "We are clear that the volume of sewage being discharged into our waters is unacceptable.

"Our ambitious Plan for Water sets out the increased investment, tougher enforcement and tighter regulation needed to clean up our waterways and tackle the issue.

"We have also set the strictest targets ever on water companies to reduce sewage discharges and are requiring them to deliver the largest infrastructure programme in their history - an estimated £56 billion in capital investment over the next 25 years."

The hearing will take place next week on July 12/13 at the Royal Court in London.