Charles Ecroyd presents a framed certificate to John Dumont. They are shaking hands and smiling at the camera.

John Dumont presented with the 2023 Ploughlands Legacy Award

We recently presented our Ploughlands Legacy Award to John Dumont, who for over 30 years has been a fearless and tireless campaigner for the health and well-being of the Eden catchment. He is pictured right, receiving his certificate from Charles Ecroyd, ERT’s Chair of Trustees.

Rivers are in in John’s blood – he started fishing he was when 8 years old, initially for trout on the river Pont at Ponteland, Northumberland; he caught his first salmon when he was 20, on the River Duddon in Cumbria. He has fished many of Cumbria’s rivers including the Crake, the Leven, and of course the Eden. In the early days, there were no limits as Cumbria was rich in fish.

These days John can often be found walking along Eden’s tributaries at the time of spring and summer salmon runs checking for salmon REDDS ( nests) and signs of successful spawning … as well as signs of poor practice that affect the health of the river.

John has always championed an evidence-based approach to back up his observations and push for improvements. His analysis, of data provided by United Utilities and Lancaster University/Natural England (through the Demonstration Test Catchment project that ERT was also involved in) has shown that the biggest threat to water quality in the Eden is diffuse pollution from farming and is keen for those landowners who allow pollution to be brought to account.

John is a passionate campaigner for the reduction of agricultural pollution, calling on the Environment Agency to dispense timely discipline of those who repeatedly break the Farming Rules for Water around farmyard run-off and slurry spreading near water courses.

Over the years he has also organised and overseen water quality testing and research into fly and invertebrate life (themselves good indicators of the health of our rivers) in conjunction with scientists from the Salmon and Trout Trust and the Angling Trust.

Elizabeth Radford, CEO said:

John’s energy is astounding and his commitment to clean water in the River Eden is unwavering. He has no qualms in holding polluters of all sizes to account and walks miles of riverbank annually to check the salmon spawning areas are free from agricultural pollution. 

He keeps Eden Rivers Trust on its toes too – not afraid to tell us when we should be doing better! A worthy recipient of the Ploughlands Legacy Award for champions of the River Eden. 

John adds:

Observed knowledge and political pressure are the key to success [ to water quality improvement and healthier rivers]. I hope many follow my example of observation and pressure for change for the better. It will be hard work but keep up the pressure.

The Ploughlands Legacy Award is presented to an individual or group whose actions have contributed significantly to the conservation of the rivers and lakes of the River Eden catchment.


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