Angling Improvement Fund

Since its launch in 2015, the Angling Improvement Fund has made over 500 separate awards totalling over £2m to clubs and fisheries throughout England that aimed to improve the infrastructure of angling facilities all of which support the National Angling Strategy. Projects included ways to help tackle the predation of fish stocks, replacement of fishing platforms, improve pathways, car parking facilities, new toilets plus bursaries to over 200 new coaching licences. The AIF is administered by the Angling Trust on behalf of the Environment Agency who provide the funding through the sale of the non-migratory trout and coarse fishing licence.

What is the Angling Improvement Fund ?

Since the Angling Improvement Fund (AIF) was launched in February 2015, fishing licence income has helped fund more than 500 angling projects worth an estimated £5.6 million, creating or safeguarding tens of thousands of angling opportunities in England.

The Angling Trust is fully aware of the need for newer, safer facilities, better habitats and more accessible facilities to enable clubs, fisheries and other angling organisations to flourish and attract anglers.

Funding this work comes from a variety of sources:

The Environment Agency reinvests income received from the sale of licences in both AIF and the Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP) FIND OUT MORE

Sport England have a variety of schemes available FIND OUT MORE

Local Authorities can sometimes have funds available and there are a variety of grant making bodies and charitable foundations, who on occasions are able to fund works. Please contact us if you want more information or advice.

To help increase the availability of funding for angling, the Angling Trust, in partnership with the Environment Agency, administers the AIF.

Whilst we are pleased to announce the reopening of the AIF, please be aware that the 2020/21 fund is likely to be severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this we welcome your project ideas, as these will be collated for incorporation in future improvement programmes when funding become available.

We would like to receive project ideas from a wide range of angling providers – individually or in partnership – including clubs, commercial fisheries, charities and local authorities. Crucially, you don’t need to be an Angling Trust member club or fishery to apply.

Please note that due to the fact that money distributed as AIF awards is derived from income from the sale of the Environment Agency’s non-migratory trout and coarse fishing licences, projects located outside of England – and projects primarily supporting salmon and sea trout angling and/or sea angling organisations – are not eligible to apply.

Subject to available funding, awards of up to a maximum of £5,000 will be considered where the applicant is able to commit a comparable amount of match-funding (cash, voluntary time or a mixture of the two).

The deadline for submitting project proposals is noon on 31st July 2020 and the money must be used to fund measures to protect fish stocks from predation.

It is hoped that, subject to funding, offers to successful applicants will be made before the end of September and approved projects must be completed by the end of the year or by the end of March 2021 at the very latest.

However, at this moment there is a high degree of uncertainty due to Covid-19 restrictions in place and that a budget is not currently available. We do encourage you to send in your proposals as we may be able to offer advice and support anyway to help address the issue encountered.

Angling Improvement Fund Round 1 2020-21

Whilst we are pleased to announce the reopening of the Angling Improvement Fund, please be aware that the 2020/21 fund is likely to be severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are re-opening the portal so please submit your project ideas by completing an ‘expression of interest’ form, as these will be collated for inclusion in future improvement programmes if/when funding become available.

This year’s funding will be solely aimed at projects such as the installation of otter-proof fencing and measures to combat over-predation of fish stocks by fish-eating birds. Awards of up to a maximum of £5,000 will be considered where the applicant is able to commit a comparable amount of match-funding (cash, voluntary time or a mixture of the two).

All applicants need to complete and submit their form using the online grant management system:



Only forms submitted via the online system will be considered and need to be completed and submitted by the closing date, midday on 31st July 2020.

Applicants who have not already registered their details will need to do so by following a simple registration process, once registered they can select the relevant electronic form and begin to complete it. Guidance notes can be found in the right-hand column and at the bottom of this page.

Before applying it’s worth finding out more about the fund. Our guidance document will tell you more about why we’re offering this fund, when we’ll make decisions, plus tips and advice for developing your project or idea. Additional help is included in the ‘help text’ on some of the questions within the form.

To assist with the completion of the form, you can download the list of the questions that you will be asked.

Key Information:

When considering your project, the assessment panel will be looking for evidence of expert consultation in its planning. Successful applicants will be expected to bring a similar amount of match-funding to complement any AIF grant offered.

We are looking for successful organisations to deliver their projects ideally by the end of the year and by 31st March 2021 at the absolute latest.

Sources of Expert Advice

Seeking out the right advice before submitting your project idea will help you to set achievable goals and find ways to reach your objectives. By getting expert opinions, you are more likely to produce a realistic plan and avoid pitfalls both practical and legal, giving your project the best chance of gaining the funding required.

Details about the Angling Trust’s Fishery Management Service are available HERE

Consider Less Abled Anglers

When planning your project please think about access for less abled anglers. The British Disabled Anglers Association has some great details about this, please download a free copy of their Access Guide ‘Access to Angling: best practice guidance’ or email


Further details about otters can be found HERE

Fish-eating Birds

Further details about fish-eating birds can be found HERE

There are a few organisations that will give advice freely or can be consulted about your project. You’ll find a host of information within each organisation’s website too. Some key organisations to seek expert advice from are:

Local Environment Agency Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology team

Wild Trout Trust

The Rivers Trust

Canal and River Trust

Institute of Fisheries Management

Contact Us

Need further assistance? Contact the Angling Improvement Fund Administration team on 0115 822 4561 or email or from Mark Wilton, National Angling Improvement Fund and Club Support Manager, on 07495 433626.


Winning Projects 2019-20

In 2019-20, the Angling Improvement Fund agreed funding for 31 projects on the theme of fish protection and predation. Most of the funding will be used to provide otter-proof fencing at stillwater fisheries. Other projects involve mink control, protection from cormorants, fish refuges and floating islands.

Winning Projects 2018-19

Fifty-eight new angling projects were selected for funding from the Angling Improvement Fund during 2018-19 – with the total value of all the projects worth over £760,000. In addition to the £296,000 awarded by the AIF, the winning applicants also contributed £280,000 themselves plus an estimated £187,000 of volunteer time.

Winning Projects 2017-18

During 2017/18, over 150 projects were selected to receive grants following a competitive judging process. Two rounds of funding were held on the following themes: Council and Commercial Waters, Predation and Fish Protection (twice), Access to Waters, Health and Wellbeing, and Spring Maintenance.

Winning Projects 2016-17

Another 125 organisations across England won grants from the Angling Improvement Fund in the year to April 2017, sharing a massive £670,000 of funding made available from fishing licence sales. In all, 153 projects were selected for funding at the end of a competitive judging process.

Winning Projects 2015-16

Four rounds of funding was made available from the sale of fishing licences in 2015-16. The themes were Supporting the Aims of the National Angling Strategy, Protecting Fisheries from Predation and Getting Kids Fishing, Otter-proof Fencing and Best Unfunded from Rounds 1 & 2, Community Waters and Schools & Colleges.

Fisheries Improvement Programme


Thank you to all the clubs and fisheries who submitted proposals by the 31st March. We received over 60 project ideas (totalling more than £400k) that were forwarded to the Environment Agency. They are reviewing all these projects but unfortunately due to the current Covid 19 outbreak they may not be able to contact applicants directly and it appears unlikely that there will be sufficient funds currently to help deliver them. If the works are urgent please consider other funding sources such as Sport England. We will keep the portal open so if you have further ideas please keep submitting them, the Environment Agency are extremely grateful for your interest to protect and improve your fishery and they are committed to support you in the future when time and funds allow.



Floating islands on a Thames stillwater



River Medway habitat and bank repair

The programme was established in 2015 and since then the Agency has reinvested over £5million from anglers in projects that will directly benefit fish and fisheries. Last year, 162 projects were completed working with 374 partners, resulting in improvements to 127km of river and 23 barriers to fish passage being removed.

Falling licence sales has reduced the Agency’s income and places pressure in their ability to adequately fund all the fisheries work they want to do. As a result, it has less budget to reinvest in FIP and the Angling Improvement Fund.

However, they still need to develop good projects and ensure fisheries money goes further and works harder. To identify and co-deliver work, the Agency wants to develop a log of ideas and welcomes input from partners via the Angling Trust’s portal.

Please note: the FIP funding does not cover works to prevent predation. Funding for measures to protect fish from predation is administered by the Angling Improvement Fund.

Action requested

Angling clubs, fisheries managers and other partners can submit project proposals using the portal. The system will ask you some basic information about the type of works you are considering. To help you understand the type of projects that may be supported, the Agency has issued the following advice regarding the priorities:

  1. Angling benefits: water where the project is planned must be fished (or there is a demonstrable link).
  2. Coarse, trout and eel habitat/passage: these are the key constraints for good fish populations, addressing them will result in more sustainable stocks and improved connectivity
  3. Angling access and facilities: platforms, pegs and pathways for rivers and stillwaters – ensuring that the needs of less able bodied anglers are considered, and an emphasis on developing community and urban fisheries (which may require both habitat and access work)
  4. Improving local evidence: it may be sometimes necessary to undertake investigations to better understand and manage fish stocks. Small investments over and above routine monitoring.
  5. Socio/economic and wellbeing benefits: seeking wider outcomes from a fisheries project in particular delivering against Government priorities identified in the 25 year environment plan.
  6. Reactive issues: for example managing the impacts of climate change such as prolonged dry weather or other incidents affecting fish and fisheries if needed.
  7. Match funding: all projects need to secure additional funds or ‘in-kind’ support.

Project proposals can be submitted at any time for consideration in future years.

Full guidance for submitting project ideas

Further reading: ‘Creating a Better Place’