Weir today. Gone tomorrow?

Simon Watts
March 29, 2023

A group of postgraduate students from the University of Leeds have been visiting the riverside in Keighley as part of their "Engaging the Modern City" module. They've been keen to find out more about the river and what residents want to know about it. In response, they've produced the leaflet below.

On the front we will use several modules to present the issues we have investigated and a module at the back to recommend areas of PR activity around Keighley and to summarise our fieldwork

Jingzhe Zeng

A central theme they have been particularly interested in is the old weirs. What was their purpose? What do people hope might happen to them? Should they remain?

There used to be dozens of mills that thrived on the River aire, but now these mills have mostly been transformed into heritage for other activities.

The concern, however, is that the weirs that provided power to these mills still remain as part of the river channel, and from an ecological standpoint, they block the passage of fish that want to swim upstream for food, breeding, or refuge.

The ideal solution would be to remove these structures to make the river more level, or to build fish passes. For more details, check out

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Do you support the removal of weirs? Why or why not?

Jingzhe Zeng
Two fish leap in a graphic that divides text

Reconnecting the river for wildlife

The Aire Rivers Trust has just completed it's Developing the Natural Aire project. Together with the Environment Agency, we have built fish passes to link 40km of the river to encourage the return of Atlantic salmon.

“It is fantastic to know that these fish passes in the upper River Aire are working as designed, and important fish species are rediscovering their key habitat

“As well as reopening rivers to fish migration and protecting ecologically important and endangered species like salmon and eel, fish passes are an amazing opportunity to reconnect river-resident species and the local community.

“Over the coming years, we look forward to seeing a growing proportion of trout, chub, barbel and salmon run spawning journeys higher up the river and a recovery in their populations.”

Thomas Somerville, Environment Agency's Developing the Natural Aire Project Manager 

You can read more about fish passes here.

© Copyright Aire Rivers Trust 2020
The Aire Rivers Trust is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales No: 07464227 and a Registered Charity No: 1145609
Registered Office at: 38 Morton Lane, East Morton, Keighley BD20 5RS
Top linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram