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Work now complete on UK’s largest fish pass at Colwick

The vast pass at the Holme Sluices barrier in Colwick, is now the largest of its kind in the country.


Work on an £8.5m ‘fish pass’ that will allow species to swim freely up the River Trent at Colwick has been completed.

The vast pass based at the Holme Sluices barrier, is now the largest of its kind in the country.

Holme Sluices is the largest barrier to the natural migration of fish in the Midlands, which the new fish pass corrects by using a narrow chamber to allow Salmon, Lamprey, Eels, and other fish to swim around the gates.

The Environment Agency were allocated around £10m of funds for the work, and construction was initially expected to be completed in August 2023 – but was finally completed last month.

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Stop logs were removed from both inlet and outlet for the first time at the end of January, allowing the radial gate to be tested under pressure. Following activation of the radial gate, the first flows entered the pass, bringing the pass up to operational levels in a startling 90 seconds.

When the gate is closed there is still a residual flow through the eel chute, as eels will travel against the direction of flow and tolerate very low water levels, this feature ensures that when the gate is closed no eels will become trapped inside the pass, and will be able to exit along the ramp.

There will now be a period of testing and training for the operatives who will operate the pass going forward, and it will be ready to hand over to Environment Agency control in the Spring.

Usage of the pass will depend on adequate water levels in the River Trent, meaning that there may be periods when the pass must close to maintain navigable levels in the main channel.

Work on the new public viewing platform is almost complete, with most of the signage installed.

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The viewing platform will feature detailed information boards on the likely species of fish and aquatic life which may frequent the pass, along with bespoke artwork from environmental artist Steve Pardue illustrating the wider ecosystem associated with the River Trent.

The blue resin visualises the path of the River Trent, with nine cast concrete blocks spread along the route. These provide seating for visitors, and also represent the locations of each of the large weirs that present barriers to fish migration without the work of the Trent Gateway project.

The block indicating Colwick Sluices is coloured red to provide context to the current location.

The mesh flooring and side panels are designed to allow visitors to see the channel, and hopefully spot any aquatic visitors.

There are a few more items to install, once completed the platform will be open to the public.

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