For fear of being accused of favouring the Ayr in our posts, I’d like to point out that wherever works of this nature take place on our rivers, we would be monitoring and involved regardless of which river it was. Shortly, the Ford at Dean Castle will see works commence to construct a bridge. We will report on this as things take shape. We have already agreed with East Ayrshire Council that we will attend a site meeting with the contractors before work starts.
The situation I found at this job last night meant I headed there first thing to ask the contractors to sort out the fish passage issues that had developed. Inadvertently, the river had been constricted to flow through a gap of just about 3 feet wide. I pointed out that this wasn’t acceptable and that it created series problems for fish passage. I also noted that the flow was virtually non existent and informed them that they didn’t have a legal right to shut the flow to be shut down when salmon were migrating. Fish passage must be maintained at all times and this wasn’t possible in the flows I witnessed. We agreed on a plan and the flow was significantly restored almost immediately. Not fully but at a level adequate to allow fish to move and them to work.
The contractors know we are here to help with advice if required and will contact me should the need arise. They plan to shutter the undermined wall and pour concrete over the next few days. Works are expected to take around 1 week from start to finish so I hope the weather holds and they complete on schedule.
Any contractor working in watercourses would be we’ll advised to contact ourselves for advice before starting work. I realise SEPA are the regulators and method statements must be approved by them but we can provide advice and assistance should fish be at risk. Almost every watercourse in Ayrshire has a fish population so a phone call in advance may help keep things right.