Huge rock ramp built to help fish travel up River Almond in Livingston

image copyrightForth Rivers Trust
image captionMore than 9,000 tonnes of rock has been built up on a section of the River Almond at Howden Bridge Weir

The UK's largest rock ramp has been built to help fish travel up a West Lothian river.

More than 9,000 tonnes of rock has been used on a section of the River Almond at Howden Bridge Weir so fish can reach spawning grounds.

The ramp was built between existing islands over three months.

It forms a waterfall-like structure made up of pools, runs and easy leaps to help fish over the weir. The river bank has also been restored.

Alison Baker, Forth Rivers Trust director, said: "The completion of this key work for the improvement of conditions for migratory fish on the River Almond is momentous and the progress made on other projects this year is very exciting.

"The RiverLife project has only been delivered due to 10 years of hard work by Forth Rivers Trust, Sepa and other organisations including West Lothian Council."

image copyrightForth Rivers Trust

She added: "This will help the overall ecology of the river by making it easier for fish to access spawning areas further up, supporting other wildlife and making the populations of iconic species such as Atlantic salmon more sustainable.

"It's not just fish species and supporting wildlife such as invertebrates, otters and kingfishers that will benefit."

West Lothian Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "The wellbeing of our rivers, is not just about the quality of water but also about the extent to which they support healthy populations of wildlife.

"I am delighted to be here today to formally acknowledge a milestone in the project to assist the migration of salmon and other species up river with completion of a new rock ramp here at Howden Bridge."

Francis Hayes, Sepa's water environment fund spokesman, said: "Completion of the rock ramp at Howden Bridge is another step in a long-term project to improve fish migration, wildlife habitats and community engagement along the River Almond.

"This new route for fish is positive proof of what can be achieved in local rivers by good partnership working and we look forward to the project's next exciting phase."

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