A visualisation of the fish pass near Kirkstall Abbey on the River Aire

Breathing new life into the River Aire

The Aire Rivers Trust are working with The Environment Agency to  construct fish passes in Kirkstall Valley (at Kirkstall Abbey then at Armley Mills and Newlay Weir) and at Saltaire. This will reconnect 60km of the river to allow the return of migrating Atlantic salmon after an absence of over 150 years.

The river has undergone a magnificent revival. Tighter regulation and investment in water quality means that the gross pollution in the past from industry and sewage is now a distant memory. Take a walk along the riverbanks and you will see fantastic wildlife from otters to kingfishers.

What is a fish pass?

The style of fish pass that are being installed are called Larinier passes, after the man who created the baffles that sit on the base of the pass. These baffles work by slowing the flow of water through the pass. Larger fish are then able to swim up the pass allowing fish to make their way up the pass with smaller fish being able to rest behind the baffles before they jump over the next one.

For Atlantic salmon, these will allow them to swim to spawning grounds in the shallow streams and rivers near Skipton previously blocked the weirs.  Their return demonstrates the outstanding quality of our river and signals a bright future for the Aire.

Construction and further information

Construction will take three months at each site and the team apologise for any disruption and are grateful for your consideration during this period. If you have any concerns or queries, please contact [email protected]

The new fish passes have been designed to respect historic importance of the sites and to benefit the widest number of fish species.  Construction is only the start of Developing the Natural Aire. Over the next three years the  project partner, The Aire Rivers Trust, will be working to connect communities throughout the valley to their river through volunteering opportunities, walks on the river and school visits. The aim is to return your River Aire to the heart of your communities.

This project has been made possible by the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Craven Council, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency.

For more information visit www.dnaire.org.uk