Five weeks of work at Scotton Weir on the River Nidd in Yorkshire, England has resulted in the full removal of the former barrier, a 75m wide and 4m high structure reconnecting ~35km of river and tributaries. The weir removal project, the largest in the UK to date, was led by river conservation charity, the Wild Trout Trust, and made possible with funding from the Open Rivers Programme.
Drought conditions within the UK this summer provided ideal conditions for the work to proceed unhindered. Despite the scale of the weir, the project was relatively simple with only two (supportive) landowners involved, few other stakeholders and no nearby services or infrastructure.
The River Nidd is a major tributary of the Humber basin, the largest catchment within Britain at >21,000km². Fish species of conservation concern such as Atlantic salmon and European eel have received boosts from weir removal or fish passage projects on other Humber tributaries but this was a first for the Nidd and it is hoped that the project will act as a catalyst for further work up and down the river.
The Wild Trout Trust has been actively improving fish spawning and juvenile habitat with numerous grass-roots organisations and charities such as the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust upstream on the Nidd for over 5 years. Hence, any fish now able to access the upper reaches of the river via the removal of Scotton Weir will find good habitat waiting for them.
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