The Aire Rivers Trust is delighted to announce that, working in partnership with the Environment Agency, we have secured development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the next major phase of reinvigorating our river – DNAire.
This DNAire Initial News Release was issued 13th October 2017.
DNAire is an exciting project that will help restore the fishery on the Aire by installing fish passes on four of the remaining large weirs on the river, thus enabling the return of ‘Salmon to Skipton’ and their traditional spawning grounds in the headwaters. Other species especially eels and coarse fish in general will also benefit from easier movement up the river.
At the same time as improving the River Aire for fish, the scheme will work with local communities to deliver stronger engagement with and ownership of the river. We will identify around a dozen ‘Focus Points’ where different aspects of the natural, built and cultural heritage come together and use these a vehicles for helping the local communities capture their own rivery stories and make them available to the world through conventional and electronic media.
Finally, we will be linking with schools, universities and other training providers to offer education and training opportunities in engineering and environmental skills.
DNAire, a £1.8million project, is one of the last links in decades of work by many agencies, companies and individuals to improve the quality of the River Aire such that salmon have already been seen downstream of, and occasionally actually in, Leeds.
Kevin Sunderland, an Aire Rivers Trust trustee, has spent his career pressing for the return of salmon and improvements to the river and said:
“This is the last link in a long chain of improvements and it’s time to open up the river once again for this iconic species the Atlantic Salmon. This project will make the river more attractive not only to fishermen but also to everyone who either lives near or wants to come and see how this great river has once again been restored to its natural glory.”
The Trust is deeply grateful to the Environment Agency for their tireless support in developing the scheme, without them it may not have been possible. Mark Scott, Area Director for the Environment Agency, commented:
“We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has chosen to support the DNAire project. We have worked with our partners for many years to restore and improve the River Aire and with this lottery grant we are finally within grasp of returning salmon to their historic habitat. This is wonderful news for the people and communities along the Aire and for the reputation of Leeds, Bradford and other key cities along the river.”
Chairman of The Aire Rivers Trust, Geoff Roberts, thanked national lottery players for their support:
“Without the players in the National Lottery schemes such as this would not be possible and we owe a huge debt of thanks to them all. There is a lot of work still to do, not least finding the 50% match funding that the project needs, but we are ready, willing and able to drive forward this magnificent opportunity for the benefit of the natural, built and cultural heritage of the river.”