EEL PROTECTION SCHEME

River Blackwater (Langford)

The Eel Regulation Compliance project at the River Blackwater in Langford is for installation of eel friendly screening equipment at our abstraction point on the river. The work is driven by the need for Essex & Suffolk Water to comply with the Eels Regulations (2009) and will improve the biodiversity value in the River Blackwater.

Project updates

Update by ESW Project Manager

April/May 2024 Progress Update (Fish & Eel Pass Concreting)

Following the portadam issues in February the site was temporarily stood down awaiting more favourable conditions in which to attempt the final concrete pour. The project team reviewed weather reports and flow data on a weekly basis searching for a reducing trend that would indicate an opportunity to return to site.

Remobilisation commenced towards the end of April, the portadam was reset and the working area drained down and preparations were made for the major concrete pour, cleaning down the structure and reinstalling the shuttering.

The concreting was successfully completed last week so the main structure is finally taking shape!

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Update by ESW Project Manager

FIsh & Eel Pass Progress Update

Hi everyone, just a short update this week to let you know that works have slowed again due to the continuing heavy rainfall and the effects of high water in the river. Works had been going well and the concrete installation was almost complete with just one major concrete pour left to go.

Unfortunately it’s just not possible to make progress in the current conditions and the portadam has been breached again (see photos). We’re monitoring river and rainfall data looking for the next opportunity to reset and pump out the dam so the remaining concreting can go ahead.

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Update by ESW Project Manager

The site flooded again in December pushing progress back a little, but fantastic efforts again by the team in the new year have brought us to the point of completion of the steel framework, ready for a major concrete pour next week. Fingers crossed for good weather for the next few days!

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Update by ESW Project Manager

The challenging weather has had few let ups in recent weeks which has pushed the lower portadam up to and beyond its limits on more than one occasion. The team on site have all worked so hard to achieve whatever progress they can through these very difficult conditions.  It’s remarkable what has been accomplished already given the challenges, and we’re hoping to have another round of concreting completed at the lower end of the structure before the Christmas break.  Let’s hope for some dry and stable weather into the New Year!

The attached photographs show the various stages of progress from the last few weeks at each end of the installation, plus a snapshot of the flooded portadam this week.

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Update by ESW Project Manager

Fish & Eel Pass Progress Update, October 23

All the excavation works have been completed under a watching brief with a professional archaeologist. The excavation zone adjacent to the weir would in all likelihood have been dug over during the creation of the structure in the mid-20th Century, so as expected, no artifacts of historical interest were discovered.

The recent wet weather has provided challenging conditions for the portadam in the pond below the weir, so this week the team have focussed on installing sheet piling at the top end of the fish pass at the upper river where the ground is dry.

Next week the lower portadam will be drained again with the aid of a larger pump (powered by a quiet electrical generator) which should enable the lower end piling to commence.

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Update by ESW Project Manager

Fish & Eel Pass Progress Update, September 23

The fish pass team have been on site for about a month now and have achieved great progress. The site is all setup, the trackway for access has been installed, tree stumps removed and protective fencing has been placed around the trees that are remaining to make sure vehicles can’t encroach into their root protection zones.

This week we have started to install a ‘portadam’ in the upper river and the lower pond which will provide a dry working area, enabling the team to start excavating to create the trench where the fish pass will be inserted. We’ll have an archaeologist on site next week observing the excavation works to see if there are any interesting historical artifacts uncovered.

The attached photos show the trackway, tree protection fence and the installation process for the portadam.

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Update by ESW Project Manager

Hi everyone, just a very quick update today to let you know that the construction works on the Fish Pass will be starting on site from next week, 21st August. Further updates will follow as the work progresses.

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Update by ESW Project Manager

Works on the Fish Pass and Eel Screens on the River Blackwater are progressing, the main contractor for the Fish Pass installation has been appointed and they are planning to undertake some pre-start surveys during the next 3-4 weeks, with the aim of mobilising to begin construction in August.  More updates will follow as dates are firmed up.

Detailed designs for the new eel screens for the Blackwater Intake are almost complete which will enable the planning application for the works to be submitted, hopefully also in August. You may have noticed a bit more activity in the area recently as we've been carrying out several surveys for ecology, arboriculture and constructability, as well as making plans for a new access track and power supply. If planning permission is achieved the main construction works for this project will begin in 2024.

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Update by ESW Project Manager

River Blackwater Weir Fish & Eel Pass

Planning Permission was granted last year for the new Fish and Eel pass at the weir on the River Blackwater, towards the rear of the Langford & Ulting Parish Hall. All the pre-start planning conditions have since been approved by the Local Authority and permits from the Environment Agency are in place enabling the project to start on site.

Works are beginning this week on the grounds preparations and tree felling to make the site ready for the main construction works to commence later in the year. We are currently undertaking a tendering process for this and expect to appoint the chosen contractors in the next few weeks.

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Update by Amanda Hunt

Dry Weather Update

Water's Worth Saving

We’re asking for your help to reduce the water you use at home and use it wisely wherever possible. There are currently no restrictions from doing anything yet. If we all start now and work together we can help to reduce the chance of a temporary usage ban (hosepipe ban) from being implemented.

How you can help

  • Use water wisely and minimise any usage where you can. Follow our summer water saving tips. Small changes can make a big difference. 
  • Warm weather can cause ground movement which can lead to burst pipes. If you see what you think might be a leak, you can help us out by reporting a leak and we will do our best to get it fixed as soon as we can.
  • Check your toilets for leaks. If you think you might have a leak, we may be able to fix it for free. You can report it here.

The current situation in Essex and Suffolk

Due to the prolonged hot weather, the total water levels are now lower than normal and the Environment Agency has moved the region into Drought status. We're working hard to make sure we balance maintaining supplies to all our customers while also protecting the environment.

While we’re in this period of prolonged exceptionally dry weather we're asking everyone to be careful about their water use so we can keep the water flowing to all of our customers. 

What we're doing 

We're doing our best to save water too:

  • We are closely monitoring and carefully managing the situation with our water resources, as reservoir levels are lower than they would normally be at this time of year, preparing for every eventuality.
  • We have increased resources and are making extra investments to achieve our best-ever performance in repairing leaks, including redeploying our employees to find and fix leaks as well as deploying new technology.
  • We’ve suspending planned work so we can focus our efforts on fixing leaks across the region.

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