New Fish Pass Flows Ahead of Time

2nd December 2016

Work to create a fish pass on a 300 year old weir at Lintzford has finished ahead of schedule. The fish pass construction has been led by Tyne Rivers Trust as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded, Land of Oak & Iron Landscape Partnership.

Tyne River Trust worked closely with Esh Construction to come up with an innovative design which has preserved the historic weir and blended into the natural environment. A series of individual rock pools constructed from local stone were carefully placed on top of the weir structure. From the moment water was allowed to flow through the fish pass when the water barriers were removed last week, fish have been seen using it to move upstream. The fish, which include important species like lamprey, eels and grayling as well as salmon and sea trout can now continue up the river Derwent to lay their eggs.

Douglas Phillips, Director of Tyne Rivers Trust says:

“Helping the fish to access new breeding grounds will increase fish numbers and greatly improve the general health of the River Derwent system. We were extremely pleased to have been able to work with such a competent local contractor and support local jobs. Projects like the fish pass at Lintzford not only help support local business, but they also contribute to the long term local economy by attracting more visitors who come to fish in our region. Completion of the fish pass at Lintzford will contribute to our ongoing work throughout the Tyne catchment to improve populations of fish.”

Esh Construction won the contract for construction of the fish pass because they understood the need for environmentally sensitive design and the use of local stone.

Stephen McClean, contracts manager at Esh Group, said:

“Taking responsibility for the environment is at the core of Esh Group’s values. The fish pass at Lintzford will be instrumental in supporting the fish population of the River Derwent by creating an improved habitat and enabling the fish to migrate further upstream. Our teams relish tackling projects like this that have demonstrable benefits to the environment.”

The fish pass was co funded by the Environment Agency and Phil Rippon, Fisheries Technical Specialist for the Environment Agency in the North East, said

“We have worked closely with Tyne Rivers Trust on this project and are delighted with the attention to detail the Trust and Esh have, between them, managed to deliver. The Lintzford fish pass will allow a variety of species to move up and down the river for the first time in over 300 years and will significantly enhance the future biodiversity of the River Derwent system.”

This project is being delivered as part of the £3.4 million, Land of Oak & Iron Landscape Partnership (LOI), supported by a £2.3million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which focuses on the Derwent Valley from Derwent Reservoir to the River Tyne, including Consett, Winlaton, Rowlands Gill and Prudhoe.  The Land of Oak & Iron’s vision is to work with local communities and partners to conserve, enhance and celebrate our natural, industrial and cultural heritage.  This project is a perfect example of how this is being achieved through partners working together to improve the beautiful natural landscape of the Derwent Valley.

Taking responsibility for the environment is at the core of Esh Group’s values. The fish pass at Lintzford will be instrumental in supporting the fish population of the River Derwent by creating an improved habitat and enabling the fish to migrate further upstream. Our teams relish tackling projects like this that have demonstrable benefits to the environment.

- Steve McClean, Contracts Manager Lumsden & Carroll