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Newlay Weir: Work starts to stabilise damaged riverbank

Work has begun today to stabilise a riverbank damaged after the collapse of the weir at Newlay.

The Grade II listed weir, which dates back to the 17th century, partially collapsed over the weekend of the 6 February following high river levels caused by Storm Christoph.

This caused a drop in water levels and revealed a slumping and erosion of the riverbank.

Some of the damage to the riverbank at Newlay. Photo: Mark Stevenson

A series of assessments were undertaken last week and Environment Agency contractors have now started engineering works to shore up the right hand bank of the river downstream of the weir to protect it from further erosion. This will involve installing sections of large boulders to stabilise the bank.

Work to protect the left bank will begin shortly, with the installation of a section of sheet piling and boulders.

Victoria Slingsby, Environment Planning and Engagement Manager at the Environment Agency, said:

“Our assessments show that the partial collapse of the weir and subsequent damage to riverbanks has not increased the immediate risk of flooding to local properties, but stabilisation works are required to prevent any further erosion and longer-term flood risk.

“If you live near to this stretch of the river, please contact us if you notice any changes to your garden, land or property, or anything that concerns you. You can phone us at any time on our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60, mentioning that your call is in connection with Newlay Weir.”

The works will be delivered over the coming weeks.

Environment Agency officers will continue to monitor the weir and surveys will take place alongside additional works to stabilise the adjacent fish pass.

A fish pass is currently being built at Newlay Weir. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Work has been ongoing on creating a fish pass at the side of the weir, as part of a £2.7 million project taking place at four different parts of the Aire to allow salmon to swim up the river for the first time in 150 years. Some of the equipment to build the fish pass was also washed into the river. A newsletter circulated to local residents added:

“The exact cause of the damage to the weir is not known, but as river levels are now beginning to fall, we can develop plans to temporarily stabilise the remaining sections of the weir.

“This will minimise the risk of the remaining section of the weir being damaged further and any associated impacts. We are working with Leeds City council and our contractors to agree the nature of the works. These stabilising works will begin
as soon as possible, and we will keep you updated.”

Damage to the weir was first reported on Monday 1 February, when Environment Agency contractors, working on the installation of a new fish pass, reported a 2m slump in the weir. River flows were very high at this time, making it difficult for engineers to assess the amount of damage.


  1. This ancient and beautiful weir had been damaged by the work carried out to make the fish pass there. The piling is intrusive and caused the instability, changing the whole course of the river and forcing it through a narrow section that has now collapsed. Leave things alone that are beautiful and do not need this level of intrusion and if you want to do anything clean up the river for the animal life that is already there. I’m so angry and upset by this heavy handed work. Shame on you.

  2. The work being carried out at Newlay Weir to make a fish pass has totally destroyed the ancient weir and the bank on the right hand side.The pilling is intrusive and caused the flow of water to surge towards the left hand side-thus causing catastrophic damage My husband and myself walk daily across Newlay bridge and have watched the progressive destruction this has caused.Other walkers who we have met are all of the same opinion and we are all so angry at this devastation.This is not Conservation this is Destruction on a grand scale.What about the trees that have been lost and the habitat of the the wildlife that lived around this beautiful part of the river.You should be ashamed of what you have caused.

  3. All official comment has stated that the damage was caused by exceptional river flow caused by Storm Christophe. Having lived here for 30 years and witnessed many storms/ flooding etc. it is patently obvious that the pile driving for the Salmon Pass works is the real reason for the weir collapse. One only needs to look at the exposed weir construction to see how fragile it was. To not link the Salmon Pass works is totally ludicrous and would be laughable if not so upsetting. The weir MUST be restored

  4. I agree with everything said above with regard to this disastrous project. This has been neither conservation nor protection of wildlife. It is simply an act of vandalism on a grand scale and at unacceptable cost. To suggest that damage of this nature to the weir was caused by ‘exceptional water flow’ is clearly nonsense. The pile driving had no effect on the weakening of the weir? I think someone is very intent on refusing to take any responsibility for their incompetence and its destructive consequences.


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