Jeremy Clarkson fumes at ‘WFH bureaucrats’ banning him from selling ‘invasive’ American crayfish in his Diddly Squat farm shop for ‘glorified prawn cocktails’
- Jeremy Clarkson says ‘WFH bureaucrats’ have banned him from selling crayfish
- Environment Agency says ‘invasive’ species carries plague and destroys natives
- Clarkson filled in lots of paperwork to try to get permission to catch the shellfish
- But was then told by the EA it is ‘unable to process applications to trap crayfish’
Jeremy Clarkson has been left fuming after the Environment Agency stopped him from trapping and selling American crayfish on his farm.
The former Top Gear presenter, 62, wanted to used the funds from selling crayfish as ‘glorified prawn cocktails’ and chowder to restore his lake on the Diddly Squat farm shop, where he films his Amazon Prime Video show Clarkson’s Farm.
American crayfish are seen by the EA as an ‘invasive’ species as they have taken over 80 per cent of rivers from the native shellfish and also carry the deadly crayfish plague which kills native white-clawed crayfish.
Due to these reasons the government agency places a strict control on who can remove them from rivers and the Government has made it a criminal offence to do so without EA permission.
Clarkson writes that he was prepared to jump through the hoops – including working out what sort of water he has, if the water is flowing, the location, what sort of trap and, what sort of crayfish it is – set by ‘WFH bureaucrats’.
But he was then told: ‘The Environment Agency is currently unable to process applications to trap crayfish.’
Jeremy Clarkson (pictured at Diddly Squat shop) has been left fuming after the Environment Agency stopped him from trapping and selling American crayfish on his farm
The former Top Gear presenter, 62, claims he has been prevented by the Environment Agency from catching Crayfish and selling them in his Diddly Squat farm (pictured) as as ‘glorified prawn cocktails’ and a chowder in winter in the Cotswolds
American crayfish are seen by the EA as an ‘invasive’ species as they have taken over 80 per cent of rivers from the native shellfish and also carry the deadly crayfish plague which kills native white-clawed crayfish. Pictured: Prawn cocktail stock image
Crayfish are not native to Britain but have invaded rivers and now occupy 80 per cent of rivers.
Signal ‘American’ crayfish carry the deadly crayfish plague which kills native white-clawed crayfish. They also prey on native crayfish, out-compete them for food and habitat and can wipe out native fish stocks.
It is a criminal offence to release or allow to escape, Signal and other non-native crayfish species into the wild anywhere in England and Wales without a licence.
Trapping non-native crayfish needs written consent from the Environment Agency and permission from the landowner and local angling clubs.
You need the right size trap, and there can’t be any risk to water voles or otters.
Meanwhile, you can only trap native crayfish for scientific purposes with permission from Natural England and not to eat or sell.
Source: Environment Agency
Clarkson said the ‘problem’ is that he needs a licence to catch the ‘invasive species which means the government is forced to spend millions of our pounds employing a team of people to make and apply rules about what can and cannot be done with them’.
He said in the Sunday Times he was also told by the EA they need to know if it has a conservation designation such as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the traps needed to be ‘no longer than 600mm and no wider, at its widest point, than 350mm’.
He added: ‘We paid them to work that out. They sat there, in meetings, with biscuits you and I bought, working out, to the millimetre, how big a crayfish trap should be.
‘And then after I’d waded through all the bureaucracy and the rest of the farm was wilting from my absence, I got a message saying, ‘The Environment Agency is currently unable to process applications to trap crayfish.’ Presumably because they’re all working from home.’
Clarkson said the ‘upshot’ means he ‘won’t repair the dam’ and the lake will go, the American crayfish will ‘wreak havoc’ and it will impact the voles and ducks.
MailOnline has contacted the EA for comment.
This is not the first time Clarkson has been in a dispute with bureaucrats over his farm in Chadlington, Chipping Norton.
He faced faced a blow last month on his extension plans after councillors refused his watered-down planning application.
Clarkson was looking to extend his shop’s car park sevenfold from ten to 70 spaces, but local councillors said that the proposed plans would have a ‘visually intrusive and harmful impact’ on the countryside, refusing Clarkson’s application.
Jeremy Clarkson, pictured, at the Diddly Squat Farm with his Lamborghini Tractor
He added that he wanted to use the money he would make catching the crayfish (pictured boiled, stock image) to restore his lake on the Diddly Squat farm, who films his Amazon Prime Video show Clarkson’s Farm on the site
The presenter had faced around 30 objection comments from villagers with some citing concerns over traffic chaos around Chadlington, Oxford.
Yet an equal number voiced their support for the application, which was refused on Friday 6 May by West Oxfordshire District Council.
Explaining the decision, the council’s development manager, Abby Fettes, said: ‘By reason of its location, size and design the proposed development would not be sustainable and would not be compatible or consistent in scale with the existing farming business or its open countryside location.
‘[It] would have a visually intrusive and harmful impact on the rural character, scenic beauty and tranquillity of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Wychwood Project Area.’
It is the second time Clarkson, who also stars with ex-Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond and James May in The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime, has seen a planning application for his farm shop rejected this year.
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