River Severn to benefit from £19.4 million funding boost

Almost £20 million has been granted to a scheme that aims to open up miles of the River Severn to help threatened fish.

The £19.4 million project will reopen the UK's longest river to fish species that vanished after weirs were installed during the Industrial Revolution.

State-of-the-art fish passes will be installed at weirs along the Severn and the River Teme allow fish to travel past the blockages and give access to spawning ground needed by other species.

The scheme will benefit declining species such as the salmon and the European eel.

The River Severn in Worcestershire. Credit: PA

Recreational and commercial fishing activities bring in more than £15 million a year along the Severn and it's argued that the restoration would boost the economic benefits of the river and its tributary.

The funding will also mean the project can work with local communities andschools to reconnect millions of people with the natural, cultural andindustrial heritage of the rivers, its backers said.

England's only fish viewing gallery will also be set up at Diglis Weir in Worcestershire.

Tony Bostock, chief executive officer of the Severn Rivers Trust, said:

It will deliver multiple benefits to fisheries interests, anglers and a great many local communities along the Severn and Teme.

Tony Bostock, chief executive officer of the Severn Rivers Trust

The project is due to get underway in 2017.