Private Action Against Polluters More Effective than State

The most efficient and determined anti-pollution organisation in Britain is not one of the government-appointed bodies but a voluntary organisation, the Anglers' Conservation Association (ACA), claims Dr Roger Bate. The ACA's success is powerful evidence against the argument that individuals either cannot or will not protect the environment.

Dr Bate's Research Monograph for the IEA* is based on work he carried out for his PhD at the University of Cambridge. He traces the history of the ACA back to its founding in 1948 as a voluntary association of angling clubs and individual anglers which brings civil suits against polluters who harm fishing.

Bate shows how the ACA uses the common law to indemnify its members against the costs of litigation and demonstrates how successful it has been. Most of its actions are not general suits against threats to the environment but specific actions against individual polluters. It has brought thousands of such actions and has been awarded hundreds of injunctions and millions of pounds in damages for plaintiffs. Most cases,