Gas House Weir, England

Restoring the ecological health of this historically significant river by removing a redundant barrier, facilitating fish migration, and improving biodiversity.

Introduction

The River Duckow is a 14km long 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 time before production was abandoned due to production costs and practicalities.  At this time, weirs, such as the one being removed under this project, were constructed. 

The River Duckow is home to 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.

At a glance

Project typeDam removal (demolition)
Project statusLive
CountryEngland
RiverDuckow
Km to be opened9
Focal speciesEuropean eel, brown trout, perch, bullhead stone loach, stickleback and gudgeon
Removal dateOctober 2025
WebsiteMersey Rivers Trust

Project context and opportunity

The River Duckow is currently designated by the Water Framework Directive as having poor ecological status, and it is failing due to a lack of plant and invertebrate life in the water and fish. Physical modifications, such as weirs, affect 50% of water bodies in the UK’s North West river basin district, and the barrier on the River Duckow will undoubtedly be affecting the ability of this river to reach Good Ecological Status. This weir is historical and redundant, and the project has been bought by Mersey Rivers Trust by the local community.

Thanks to the programme-supported barrier pre-demolition project, a thorough assessment of the feasibility of removal has been carried out. The identified conditions have all provided an excellent opportunity for barrier removal here.

Project aims

This project will remove the Gas House 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 homesBy removing this weir, this project will have allowed a vital step forward to be taken in restoring this important local waterbody by opening up 9.8km of water upstream, and 4km of water downstream to fish migration, and vastly reducing the visible negative impacts this barrier has on water flow and biodiversity for over 2km upstream.  

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