Somerset County Herald 20 Apr 1957 Fish Life in River Tone inc Proposed Fish Passes at Firepool Bathpool and French Weir Taunton

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Somerset County Herald and Taunton Courier. Saturday 20 Apr 1957

Page 4 Column 4

Fish Life in River Tone

Somerset Authority's Concern

Possible Effects of Power Station Scheme

Fears that there will be insufficient water to maintain fish life in the River Tone when the Clatworthy Reservoir and Hinkley Point nuclear power station come into operation where expressed at a meeting of Somerset River Board at Bridgwater on Wednesday.

The Fisheries and Pollution Committee reported that the proposed fish passes at Firepool, Bathpool and French Weir, Taunton, were expected to be constructed this year. Salmon would then be enabled to reach Bishops Hull and possibly Wellington when the river was in flood.

Mr. STUCKEY told the committee that the passes should be delayed because he understood the compensation water from the reservoir would be small and possibly detrimental to fish life.

He was informed by the Engineer, Mr. E. L. KELTING, that they had been guaranteed a million gallons of compensation water per day. That was more than the present dry-weather flow and would be sufficient to maintain fish life.

Power Station Supply

He understood, however, that Taunton Corporation had been asked to supply the freshwater requirements of the proposed nuclear power station and for that purpose were going to raise the dam at Clatworthy. That had not been taken into consideration when the original plans for the Clatworthy scheme had been formulated. It might be that during a dry year the discharge from the reservoir might be limited to the compensation flow of a million gallons a day for long periods. That reduction of the normal river flow might have some ill effect on fish life. However, it must be remembered that there were further streams entering the river downstream of the proposed reservoir.

Grave Doubts

Mr. STUCKEY reminded the Board that grave doubts had been expressed by Taunton Angling Association regarding the flow in the river when the reservoir and power station were completed.

It was feared that fish life in the river might suffer and possibly become extinct. Construction of the two fish passes should, therefore, be deferred until the results of those two schemes were known. He felt it would be utterly useless to spend £2,000 on that experiment and a lot of labour which could be more profitably be used elsewhere. He did not wish to be connected with that “reckless experiment.”

Mr. STUCKEY moved that the scheme be deferred until the effect on fish life was known – Mr. K. HARDWICH seconded.

Mr. A. W. VILLAR said that he raised the same question to Taunton Water Board, but was assured that there would be plenty of water coming down the Tone.

Industrialists' Doubts

Mr. G. C. WYNDHAM said that doubt was felt by industrialists in the Wellington area whether they would receive the full amount of water if the nuclear power station took what was required.

The Chairman, Mr. W. G. F. GARLAND, pointed out that the scheme for the fish passes was approved last October and could only be rescinded by notice of motion.

Mr. STUCKEY thereupon gave notice of motion, Mr. HARDWICH seconding, and the Board agreed.

Mr. KELTING explained that the compensation water was agreed prior to the suggested supply to the nuclear power station. Until he had the full facts it was impossible to advise the Board whether the altered circumstances would affect the river. They might, but he thought that was rather doubtful. Pending the Board's decision on the motion nothing would be done in regard to the fish passes.

Bank Strengthening Schemes

The Board approved of applications for grant being made for the following bank strengthening schemes: River Brue – Cradle Bridge to Coldharbour Bridge, £5,930. River Parrett – Bridgwater, Burrowbridge, £13,565; Hawkhurst Farm, Bridgwaer, £3,250; Huish Level bank, excess of £679. It was explained that most of the work was required because of flood damage.

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