Fish pass bringing new life to Burnley’s rivers

Trout, salmon and eels could soon be swimming through Burnley now that a “fish pass” has been created to allow them better access through the town’s rivers.

The Ribble Rivers Trust installed the pass over a former industrial weir on a section of the River Brun, which means more fish can now move on to their desired spawning grounds.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Burnley, Coun. Andy Tatchell and Mrs. Lorna Tatchell at the offical opening of the new fish pass on the River Brun.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Burnley, Coun. Andy Tatchell and Mrs. Lorna Tatchell at the offical opening of the new fish pass on the River Brun.

The project, Burnley’s Urban River Enhancement Scheme, involved a number of partners including the Environment Agency, Burnley Borough Council and the Mohiuddin International Islamic Girls College.

The Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Andy Tatchell, visited the site of the fish pass which runs behind the college where he also heard speeches from students who will monitor the movement of the fish through video recording.

He also unveiled a fish window on railings in Church Street overlooking the river.

The group then travelled to Towneley Hall where a new painting by artist Jon Turner, entitled “Calder Life”, was unveiled as part of the Wild About Burnley exhibition.

Victoria Woods and the Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Andy Tatchell open the new viewing windows for the new fish pass on the River Brun.

Victoria Woods and the Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Andy Tatchell open the new viewing windows for the new fish pass on the River Brun.

Community engagement officer Victoria Woods from the Ribble Rivers Trust said: “The fish pass will allow fish migration upstream over weirs. Fish prefer to spawn in smaller tributaries. Before the fish pass, the weir was too high for them to jump up.

“There were already trout in the local rivers but now we hope to see salmon and eels appearing.”

Ben Bayliss, project team leader for the Environment Agency, which contributed funding to the project, said: “The fish pass will reverse the Industrial Revolution’s negative impact on the environment and ecology of the river.”

The Wild About Burnley Gallery has been prepared by Graham Gavaghan, ecologist at Towneley Hall, the Burnley Council rangers and Burnley Council graphics team.

Exhibits include scenarios and dioramas of local habitats and an interactive play and learning zone.

Graham said: “The painting brings to life the underlying story of our river Calder from its source all the way to Towneley Hall, showing beautiful examples of all the wildlife species found here. Whether young or old it’s the kind of artwork we can use to describe and explain to people more about the environment we all share.”