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Fish can move more freely after weir taken down

PUBLISHED: 08:58 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:58 09 April 2019

The weir blocking fish movements in the River Tiffey near Wymondham  Picture: EA

The weir blocking fish movements in the River Tiffey near Wymondham Picture: EA

Archant

Fish can move more freely around a Norfolk river after an old weir was removed.

The ricver after the weir was removed  Picture: EAThe ricver after the weir was removed Picture: EA

The Environment Agency and Norfolk Rivers Trust have been working on a joint project to take away the structure in the River Tiffey, near Wymondham Abbey.

Historically many weirs and sluices have been built in rivers to control their deptth and flow. But now many act obstacles to fish migration.

The weir near Wymondham Abbey was once used by the Briton Brush Factory to cool the condenser of the nearby factory’s steam turbine.

Amy Prendergast, catchment co-ordinator at the EA, said the river was now flowing freely through this section, restoring more natural habitat, which will benefit invertebrates (such as mayflies and freshwater shrimp). It has also reduced the flood risk to properties near Damgate Bridge.

She added: “It was fantastic to work with Norfolk Rivers Trust on this project. I’m really proud of what we’ve done. You can already see the results of removing the weir- the river is flowing freely and already is more dynamic. I hope that other people who are thinking of improving fish passage at their structures will visit Wymondham and see how successful it can be.

“Some excellent work has been done alongside our weir removal work, from surveys done by UEA looking at sediment and invertebrates in the river, and riverfly surveys and otter spraint analysis carried out by local volunteers.”

Mrs Prendergast also thanked the local landowner, South Norfolk Council and Wymondham Town Council who allowed access and gave permission to set up a site compound.

Ursula Juta, from the rivers trust, added: “Working in the River Tiffey was a real pleasure, especially with the tranquillity of the park and views of the abbey. We hope to improve the river further for the wildlife and local community as soon as we get further funding.

“As well as allowing fish to migrate, all of these projects offer a multitude of benefits, making a big improvement to water quality, flood risk and river structure.”

During the project, it was discovered that the foundations of Becketswell Bridge pose an obstacle for fish moving upstream. There are plans to install a fish and eel pass here within the next two years.

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