Jeremy Clarkson takes aim at 'WFH bureaucrats' for preventing him from selling 'invasive' American crayfish

The former Top Gear presenter wanted to sell the crayfish to sell in his Diddly Squat farm shop

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Jeremy Clarkson was enraged at the Environment Agency (EA), after the body prevented him from catching and selling American crayfish on his Diddly Squat farm.

The 62-year-old presenter wished to restore his lake at his farm, funding the restoration by selling crayfish to make "glorified prawn cocktails" in Diddly Squat farm shop.

But American crayfish are viewed by the EA as an "invasive" species, as they've claimed 80 percent of British rivers from native shellfish.

American shellfish are also known to carry a lethal crayfish plague. The plague kills native white-clawed crayfish.

The EA therefore strictly regulates who catch American crayfish from British rivers. Moreover the Government made it illegal to do so without the permission of the EA.

Jeremy Clarkson at the Memorial Hall in Chadlington, where he held a showdown meeting with local residents over concerns about his Oxfordshire farm shop.
Jeremy Clarkson at the Memorial Hall in Chadlington, where he held a showdown meeting with local residents over concerns about his Oxfordshire farm shop.

The former Top Gear presenter wrote that he was prepared to go through the regulatory channels the "WFH bureaucrats" set, to secure permission to trap the American shellfish. He noted that he would ascertain what sort of water he has, whether it is flowing, what sort of trap and crayfish it is.

However, he was informed that: "The Environment Agency is currently unable to process applications to trap crayfish."

The Doncaster-born broadcaster took aim at the Government body.

He said the "problem" was that he required a licence to trap "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."

In The Sunday Times, Clarkson wrote that the EA informed him they would need to know if the site of "Special Scientific Interest" and also specified the size of the traps used to catch the crayfish.

Jeremy Clarkson leaves the Noel Coward Theatre in London after watching a performance of "Quiz".
Jeremy Clarkson leaves the Noel Coward Theatre in London after watching a performance of "Quiz".

The father-of-three said: "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."

He went on: "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."

The result of this, the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire presenter insists, is that he "won't repair the dam" and the lake he wished to restore will not be brought back to life.

He went on to say that the American crayfish would "wreak havoc".

An endangered White-clawed crayfish.
An endangered White-clawed crayfish.

According to the EA, the fisheries management application was approved and issued during October 2021. However the agency went on to say that an application for the personal consumption of crayfish could not be authorised.

"Although there has been a delay in our services on authorisations for removing crayfish for personal consumption due to staff shortages, we continue to process crayfish removal authorisations for fisheries management, scientific and commercial purposes as normal", an EA spokeswoman said.

"We are actively working to resume processing and determining crayfish authorisations for personal consumption to restart the service as soon as possible."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has seen a message from the face of Clarkson's farm about the farming industry and intends to respond, No 10 has said.

The broadcaster, 62, posted a video on Monday morning calling for the Government to address restrictions on farmers diversifying their produce.

Responding on Twitter, the official account of No 10 said: "Thanks for this Jeremy, the PM has seen this and his response is incoming."