In the last couple of years we have been frustrated by lack of progress to remove barriers in Ayrshire. We spent a considerable amount of time discussing options for, and assessing 3 weirs in Stewarton that we hoped to have removed with the assistance of SEPA and the Restoration fund. This all fell flat and faded over the horizon for many reasons not least that Restoration fund for those years was awarded to other regions and Ayrshire qualified for nothing. Now that we are approaching RBMP2 (river basin management planning stage 2) the Restoration fund has been replaced with the Water Environment Fund and Scottish Government has realised that more effort is needed to support and expedite suitable applications so that Scotland can meet Water Framework Directive Objectives by 2027.

With renewed enthusiasm obvious, we met with SEPA and North Ayrshire Council today to discuss 2 weirs that SEPA would like to see improved for morphology and fish migration. One of these weirs has already been subject to considerable assessment with an optioneering report produced in 2011.

Seven Acres Weir

Seven Acres Weir. This weir is well over 7’high and completely impassible.

A side view of Seven Acres weir. An old fish pass that used to allow upstream migration has collapsed on the far bank.

A side view of Seven Acres weir. An old fish pass that used to allow upstream migration has collapsed on the far bank.

Thankfully, SEPA has picked this up and brought it to the table again and this morning we sat down to discuss Seven Acres Weir and Garden Weir, both on the Lugton Water. After a good discussion, we have all agreed to try and take these weirs forwards for improvements and will rely heavily on SEPA’s WEF team to put the design package in place and gain the support of the Scottish Government. ART and Noth Ayrshire Council will support SEPA in whatever way we can and hopefully will soon be able to report progress in a few months time.

Garden Weir in Eglinton Park is not totally impassible but is a very difficult obstacle that stops many migratory species progressing upstream.

Garden Weir in Eglinton Park is not totally impassible but is a very difficult obstacle that stops many fish progressing upstream.

As always, once these barriers are improved, there are plenty more to revisit and take forwards for assessment. I am confident we will now see progress.

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