Tweed makes a splash by landing top UK River Prize

On The River Tweed near Paxton.
On The River Tweed near Paxton.

The Tweed has come out on top in a competition to find the best river in the UK for improvements made to the local environment.

The UK River Prize is in recognition of the partnerships working at improving the river for people and wildlife; resulting in a healthier and better functioning waterway.

It celebrates the achievements of individuals and organisations working to improve the natural functioning of our rivers and recognises the benefits to society of having a healthy natural environment.

The River Tweed catchment covers an area of 5000km2 bordering between England and Scotland.

It is a river with an extremely rich and diverse, natural heritage and is the most productive salmon river in the UK. It is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.

Tweed Forum works in partnership to promote integrated catchment management that delivers multiple benefits. Their focus is on working with land managers to get the right measures in the right place, at the right scale, in order to address key issues such as habitat loss, drainage, pollution, channelisation and invasive species control.

Martin Janes, managing director of the River Restoration Centre said: “Tweed Forum demonstrates the power of effective partnership; a focused unanimous voice working on behalf of the river and the people it links together.

“The judging panel were hugely impressed with the scale of work, the documented achievements and the long term vision for the River Tweed.

“In the last five years Tweed Forum has restored and enhanced more than 60km of river through fencing off and planting, re-meandered over 2km of straightened channel, installed 120 engineered woody debris features (flow restrictors, deflectors, gravel capture structures); removed 9km of flood embankment, planted 230ha of riparian woodland; created 30 wetlands; enhanced 125ha of raised bog, dammed 9km of ditch and controlled invasive plants along almost 500km of river.”

Tweed Forum was presented with the Nigel Holmes Trophy, named after the hugely influential and passionate river restoration and conservation advocate, and a £10,000 prize to further their river restoration works.

In the early 1970’s Nigel Holmes embarked upon an ambitious project to survey the macrophytes of the Tweed as part of his doctorate.

Tweed Forum would like to use the prize money to re-survey with a view to finding out what has changed over the last 40 years since his publication.

The competition was judged by a panel of experts. Nineteen entries were reduced to four finalists; Ballinderry River, County Tyrone; River Adur, West Sussex; River Tweed; and Rivers Kennet & Lambourn in Berkshire.

The award prize is supported by the River Restoration Centre, the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Natural Resources Wales, the Rivers Agency, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and WWF-UK.