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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Major boost for rivers in Penrith area

A weir and a ford have been removed from two rivers in the Penrith area, as part of a major scheme to return them to nature.

The Eden Rivers Trust (ERT) is hoping that the work will allow fish such as salmon and trout to move more freely in the rivers.

The work was carried out by the trust with permission of the landowner and consent from the Environment Agency.

The ford was removed from the River Lyvennet near Cliburn Mill, and the weir from Morland Beck near Crossrigg, Cliburn.

Landowner Priscilla Henley admitted that the proposals had originally met with concern, but that the long-term benefits persuaded the family to change their minds.

“We were unenthusiastic about having the weir removed on the Morland Beck,” she explained, “because it had been there for such a long time and we felt it was beneficial.

“However, once ERT had very sensitively explained the advantages its removal would be to the habitat and surrounds, we regretted not having had it removed sooner.

“The trust has been extremely good about keeping us informed about the whole procedure from beginning to end and the finished result is definitely an asset.”

Mrs Henley added: “The same can be said for the removal of the ford on the Lyvennet.”

Simon Johnson, director of Eden Rivers Trust, said that it was looking at all manmade river structures – such as weirs, fords and pipe bridges – as it believes those which serve “no useful purpose or are of no heritage interest” should be removed.

“Removal of these redundant structures is an essential element of our overall strategy to make the Eden a dynamic and more natural river system,” he continued.

“It is heartening to see how nature can react ‘post-removal’. Within a relatively short space of time fish can once again migrate and spawn in areas they have been excluded from, which in some cases could be many decades.

“Removal of weirs can also be good for communities who are affected by localised flooding, due to the impounding affect that these structures can have on river levels.”

Removing the barriers is part of Eden Rivers Trust’s partnership work with the Environment Agency to help make the Eden and its tributaries meet the strict requirements of the European Water Framework Directive.

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