Gas House Weir Feasibility Study

This project will produce a feasibility study that will determine whether it is possible to safely and cost-effectively remove an detrimental weir on the River Duckow.


The River Duckow is a 14km long river in the Upper Weaver catchment in Cheshire, UK.  The Duckow drains into the River Weaver, one of the major rivers in this area.  The power of the River Duckow has historically been used in the gas producing industry, which supplied gas to local homes during the 1800s for a brief period of time before production was abandoned due to production costs and practicalities.

The River Duckow is home to a variety of coarse fish, small trout and salmonids, which support small angling clubs along its length.  The river also provides a linking corridor between the mosaics of ancient woodland and threatened traditional meadow habitats along its length.

At a glance

Project typeDam removal (pre-demolition)
Project statusComplete
CountryUnited Kingdom
RiverRiver Duckow
Potential km to be opened up9 km
Key habitatsAncient woodland, meadow, river
Focal speciesTrout and salmonids
Project websiteMersey Rivers Trust

Project context and opportunity

The River Duckow is currently designated by the Water Framework Directive as in poor ecological status, and it is failing due to lack of plant and invertebrate life in the water.  Physical modifications, such as weirs, affect 50% of water bodies in the UK’s North West river basin district, and so it is a priority that work is done to remove these barriers, and ameliorate the negative effects of these barriers in order to help waterbodies achieve Good Ecological Status (GES).

Project aims

This project will produce a feasibility study that will enable us to determine whether it is possible to safely and cost-effectively remove the weir on the River Duckow that was historically used to harness the power of the river in order to produce and pump gas to local homes.  If this study determines that the weir can be removed, this project will have taken a vital step forward in restoring this important local waterbody by working to open up 9.8km of water upstream, and 4km of water downstream to fish migration, and vastly reducing the negative impacts this barrier has on biodiversity for over 2km upstream.


This feasibility study included desktop surveys of existing materials, topographic and hydrographic surveys, ecological and geomorphological assessments, hydraulic modelling, assessment of different feasibility options and then development of preferred designs. Information on permitting, requirements, and legal obligations was also included in the final feasibility assessment to ensure that the weir removal will be legally compliant and have the most environmentally beneficial design, given the modelling information available. No archaeological concerns have been raised by the county archaeologist, nor have any social impacts been raised.

This project was completed in 2022, and in 2024/2025, the dam will be removed with a follow-on grant from the programme.


Mersey Rivers Trust