‘Eyesore’ fish pass was £100k over budget

The fish pass at Tipton St John weir has been described as an ‘eyesore’ and ‘intrusive’ by some resi

The fish pass at Tipton St John weir has been described as an ‘eyesore’ and ‘intrusive’ by some residents - Credit: Archant

A NEW fish pass on the river Otter - which has been described by residents as an ‘eyesore’ and ‘intrusive’ - cost nearly £100,000 more than planned.

The work at Tipton St John weir took over six months to complete and cost £341,000, but officers at the Environment Agency (EA) say the work was essential to improve dwindling fish populations.

A spokesman for the EA said that the funding, which came from European Union coffers, was allocated for this type of work and could not have been used for anything else.

He acknowledged that the project had taken longer and cost more than planned, but said that workers had encountered a layer of blockstone which meant specialist equipment had to be brought in to remove it at extra cost.

He also said poor weather had hampered progress at the start of the year.

He added: “The land has been reseeded and by the spring we would expect to see the area back to its previous condition.”

We needed to improve fish passage at the weir as currently the River Otter is not reaching its potential for fish populations.”

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“This investment will continue to benefit the local economy and river for many decades to come - studies have shown that each caught salmon is worth nearly £10,000 to the local economy.”

The EA are planning a ‘drop-in’ event later this year to give members of the public a chance to quiz agency officers on the new fish pass and to raise any concerns they may have.

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