Buried away in the small print at www.rodlicence.net are details of the extra charges, none of which is necessary.
“Rodlicence.net offers you third party data processing services, for which we charge a service and administration fee of £5 for short-term licences and £11 for full licences.”
The site offers no additional benefits to anglers for these charges. Indeed, it is worse than the official sites because it does not provide anglers with a licence number immediately and so they could be prosecuted if they go fishing while they wait for their licence to turn up in the post.
Angling Trust campaigns coordinator Martin Salter said: “It beggars belief when we are in the middle of a nasty recession which has hit hard the pockets of so many people that there are organisations out there seeking to charge anglers 40% extra on the cost of a coarse fishing licence for absolutely no benefit at all. Of course the situation has been made worse by the government’s ridiculous ban on marketing by public bodies like the EA which has adversely affected rod licence sales and has prevented the Agency from getting its message out to the wider angling public about renewals. This has opened the door once again to the profiteers who are hoping to make a quick buck at anglers’ expense.”
He added: “The Angling Trust has been lobbying MPs and government ministers to allow the EA to market rod licences and the correct process for renewals as they provide an irreplaceable source of income for both angling and fisheries. However, in the meantime we strongly advice all anglers to avoid these websites like the plague that they are and to apply either on line at www.environment-agency.gov.uk or visit their local Post Office in person.”
The Environment Agency website has been amended to warn people that there is no need to pay any processing charges whatsoever.
Paul Lidgett, Senior Fisheries Officer with the Environment Agency said: “We are aware that other websites offer to ‘process’ your rod licence application for you and may charge you a fee for this service. We have no connection with such websites and do not endorse the service they provide. Anglers who buy their licence direct from the Post Office website are not charged an additional fee. They also receive a licence confirmation number by email allowing them to go fishing immediately”