Plans for a new route for fish in a Northumberland River will help to see its populations of trout thrive, and customers are being invited to find out more.

 Northumbrian Water is working in partnership with the Environment Agency to install a fish pass in the River Pont, between the villages of Matfen and Stamfordham.


The project, which is being carried out by the water company’s supply partners, Mott Macdonald Bentley, will allow fish better access to the upper sections of the river.


Currently, an aqueduct which has been in place since the 19th century, stopped fish from moving freely. The installation of the new fish pass will mean that trout and other species of fish, will be able to navigate beyond the structure.


Construction of the fish pass, which is expected to begin in August 2019, will take up to three months and will consist of strategically positioned concrete pools. 


Upon completion, there will be small changes to the water flows downstream of it. This will help to make the fish pass more efficient and help the ecology of the river for generations to come.


Customers in the area being invited to an information session, held jointly by Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency, to find out more about the project.


It will be held on Thursday May 16, 2019 at Stamfordham Village Hall (NE18 0NA) between 3.00pm and 7.00pm.


Northumbrian Water’s Project Manager, Brian Ford, said: “We’re pleased to be working with the Environment Agency on a project which will help provide a healthy river, and take an important step in encouraging the populations of fish to thrive in the area.


“We’ll be at the village hall on May 16 and I’d like to encourage residents and local fishing groups to come along and find out more about this vital ecological project.” 


Environment Agency’s Robbie Stevenson, said “This structure has been in place, impacting on the local environment, since the 1850’s and the time has come to put in place action to resolve this.


“While recognising that it forms part of the vital water supply network, we are pleased that Northumbrian Water have taken ownership of delivering this. 


“Delivering fish passage to the upper parts of this river will greatly improve local biodiversity, while contributing to a measure that will improve the whole river catchment from source to sea.”