Meeting at the weir 28th July 2015 of John Roberts, chairman of SAF (Shropshire Anglers’ Federation), Chris Bainger & Adam Joseph (EA) and Mark Scutt (Shrewsbury Hydro Ltd)
This meeting was arranged by the EA and was welcomed by Shrewsbury Hydro who had not managed to meet up recently with John Roberts (JR) to address concerns he had raised, most recently in his neutral comment in connection with Shrewsbury Hydro’s application for planning permission. Shrewsbury Hydro had spoken on the telephone and been in email contact with JR and addressed some of the points made by him to his satisfaction (power lines etc.) and this meeting was very helpful in looking at the effects of the hydro scheme generally and in particular at what effect the change in flow direction might have on fishing immediately below the weir.
Effect of hydro scheme on fish and fishing
(1) JR said he had 2 concerns here which he had raised earlier. First was his concern that any flow through the turbine would go straight down the right hand side (south side) of the river and, second, fishing from the north side embankment below the weir would be affected as a result of fewer fish being attracted there as a result of the change in flow direction? He said there were 2 things required for him to be satisfied on these points. First, he would like to see the turbine flow angled out towards the middle of the river and, second, he would like to see what Shrewsbury Hydro could do to offset the possible changes to fishing immediately below the weir.
Mark Scutt (MOS) said that Shrewsbury Hydro had taken on board his earlier comments about flow direction and the latest drawing (1003 rev 1 submitted to the planners on 27th May 2015) now included an angled exit wall to the turbine channel. This angled wall was entirely on the land which it was intended to lease for the hydro scheme and did not rely on using private land further downstream which would be protected from erosion at the same time. This drawing was looked at the meeting and it was felt that this change covered the point that had been made.
JR made note that although the changes on the revised edition (1003 rev 1) went some way in meeting the requirements felt needed, indeed was more than welcomed. In addition, further modification to the angled exit wall to the turbine channel to accentuate flows into the Weir Pool bowl and not the tail of the Weir Pool may take place when fish pass designs are finalised during the forthcoming FP002 Fish passage consent process.
On the 2nd point, reference was made to the Apem hydromorphology report mentioned by JR and it was recognised that there would be some change in flow pattern. The Apem report showed that the flow immediately below the turbine exit channel would increase, with flow velocity up by about 0.25m/s (just over half a mile an hour) for the 1st 25 metres or so after the channel exit. Due to the weir being angled, this represented a distance of about 50 metres from the weir toe on the north side.
JR suggested and requested some form of support for renovation of the community area just downstream of this (The Fisherman’s Walk) near the canoe steps such renovation could be used more easily and maybe with the step continuing down to the river bed and MOS for Shrewsbury Hydro thought this made sense as something that the scheme could contribute. JR noted that this would also help separate canoeists from fishermen at times when both were using the same area for entry and exit. JR furthered that when the Hydro Scheme is in place and river flow does in fact even slightly change, then this Fisherman’s Walk may well indeed become very important to the angler game and coarse. Presently the Walk is of little or no use and certainly incapable of accommodating any need resultant of the works in prospect.