Anglers Dismay at more Thames Hydropower Projects

Anglers Dismay at more Thames Hydropower Projects
The Thames Anglers Conservancy are dismayed that the Environment Agency is sacrificing yet more weir pools in the pursuit of renewable energy with its plans to sell the rights to develop Hydropower on three more weirs on the Thames. Those weirs – at Marlow, Boulters and Boveney – are in addition to the long-planned scheme at Romney, the recent three offered at Bell, Teddington and Sunbury. There are also schemes planned at Osney (an additional scheme to one already licensed at that site), Goring, Abingdon, and Sonning.
This is after promising in 2009 to the almost defunct Regional Fisheries, Ecology and Recreation Advisory Committee that no more schemes would be promoted by the Agency until the environmental effects of the scheme at Romney had been fully evaluated. The fact that Romney has yet to be built, mainly for financial reasons, is no excuse and as far as we know, no serious pre-project evaluations have even been carried out.
Weir pools are the heart of our heavily regulated rivers such as the Thames; the only sites to offer diversity of habitat and spawning opportunities for fish that use clean gravel shallows, such as Barbel, Dace, Chub and Trout. These habitats rely on the flow and energy of the water falling over the weir; Hydropower drastically reduces this flow for most of the time by diverting it through turbines and the energy of the effluent flow is much reduced. How can the Agency actively promote further schemes without knowing more about the consequences?
These latest schemes, in partnership with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, are in the name of the Big Society; whilst the Big Society should also be about preserving the river environment.
We urge the Environment Agency not to sanction further schemes on Thames weir pools until their impact is properly understood. The Thames Anglers Conservancy is working under guidance of the Angling Trust in assessing the ecological consequences of Hydropower schemes on the Thames.
The potential resource from hydropower in England is tiny – possibly 0.2% of our current electricity demand (DECC report) – yet the probable impact on our river fish populations is extremely damaging.
The Thames Anglers Conservancy are not against renewable energy from any sources, but it is pointless developing it, if it also destroys the environment.
Thames Anglers Conservancy volunteers are involved with many ongoing projects with the Environment Agency Fisheries team including habitat restoration.

Anglers and Hydropower

The Thames Anglers Conservancy are a free to join organisation, more information can be found at For all enquires please email
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.