Work begins on removing weir on River Ribble
The Ribble Catchment Partnership has seized on the opportunity provided by exceptionally low spring water levels to start work on a transformational project to return the river to its natural course at Samlesbury, near Preston.
In what is believed to be the widest weir removal scheme currently underway in Britain, excavators moved in this week to begin removal of the redundant 50-year-old weir to increase biodiversity and ease the movement of migratory fish like salmon, smelt and eels.
The works are part of the new Ribble Life for Water Scheme supported by the Water Environment Grant administered by the Environment Agency, and funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
A programme of large-scale engineering projects, delivered largely by local contractors, will restore natural flows and improve water quality, habitat and biodiversity.
Samlesbury Weir was constructed in the 1970s to monitor low flows on the Ribble, but its effectiveness led to it being permanently decommissioned.
The weir itself causes significant problems for the river and riverine wildlife, and some people have been injured .
Ribble Rivers Trust Director Jack Spees said: “We are really pleased to see this project finally underway.”