Removing barriers in the river

Part of project: River restoration

In 2015, we identified a number of barriers in the Eden catchment that might benefit from modification or removal. After extensive research, two were earmarked for removal in 2016, one at Sheepmount (Carlisle) and the other at Carlton Hall (Eamont Bridge).

These weirs were removed to improve the flow of water and habitat and make it easier for fish to travel along the river to breed and thrive.

Planning the removal of weirs

Although the physical removal of the weirs only took a few hours, the planning and consultation involved took months. We are committed to ensuring that any decision taken to remove or modify a barrier on the river is the right one for both people and wildlife. Depending on the outcomes of surveys and consultation, the appropriate course of action may be to leave the barrier as it is.

To give you an idea of the extensive planning that takes place for this type of project, this is the list of surveys, permit applications and consultations carried out:

  • “Weir removal/modification Feasibility Appraisal” by JBA Consulting, covering hydrology, ecology, structure, services, contamination, cultural heritage and concept design.
  • Planning Permission application (16/0459).
  • Impoundment Licence application (NW/076/0006/005).
  • Environmental Permit application (EPR/RB3396JX).
  • Consultation and formal agreement with weir owners.
  • Consultation with local community groups, interest groups and Councillors.
  • Consultation with Local Authorities and other relevant statutory agencies.
  • Appropriate survey and mitigation for otters, bats, trees, crayfish, fish and invasive species.
  • Design and tender of ground works.
  • Health and Safety requirements.
  • Construction Design and Management Regulations.
  • Pollution control measures.
  • Archaeological Watching Brief (Carleton Hall only, before and during works).
  • Publicity – advising people of the planning permission etc.

The County Archaeologist and Historic England were consulted and their recommendations followed. An Archaeological Watching Brief was carried out before and during the removal process at Carlton Hall Weir.

The Cultural Heritage Assessments by JBA Consulting for both weirs are a fascinating insight into the history of the weirs and the surrounding area – see data and evidence to download both reports.

The Cumbria River Restoration Strategy

This work was carried out as part of the Cumbria River Restoration Strategy, a partnership project that aims to improve rivers in Cumbria for people and wildlife. This project was led by Eden Rivers Trust.

Partners of the wider project include: the Environment Agency, Natural England, Eden Rivers Trust, West Cumbria Rivers Trust and South Cumbria Rivers Trust.

The partnership has a successful history of delivering river restoration projects across Cumbria and was awarded the UK River Prize in recognition of this in April 2016.

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