Further consultation promised before any action on ford

Haugh Head ford and fish pass on Wooler Water.
 Picture by Jane Coltman
Haugh Head ford and fish pass on Wooler Water. Picture by Jane Coltman

The Environment Agency has confirmed that it will be carrying out more consultation before any work takes place at the Haugh Head ford on Wooler Water.

The Agency is working with a number of partners and investigating options to allow migratory fish to travel upstream of the ford, while it is also hoped a more natural river system can be established.

Work to remove the ford had been planned to begin in July, but following meetings with residents and Wooler Parish Council, it’s been decided to allow a more thorough assessment of options and a wider consultation to be carried out before any work starts.

At a public meeting last month, it was clear that residents felt that they had not been involved in the plans.

The Environment Agency is committed to ensuring the most appropriate solution for the Haugh Head ford and the surrounding environment is achieved and will only begin work at the site once the best option has been found. Any solution will enhance the natural environment while minimising the impact on local residents.

Environment Agency project manager, Neil Smith, said: “Development of the preferred solution will involve gathering as much public knowledge, thoughts and considerations as possible as this is regarded as a key part of the project’s success.

“We want to ensure that residents’ views are accounted for while developing the best solution to the long-running problems caused by the ford structure. I’d like to reassure people we are listening to them.

“We also need to ensure that the work does not adversely affect the flood risk posed by Wooler Water.”

The Environment Agency will keep Wooler Parish Council and the local community informed as proposals progress over the coming months and there will be the opportunity to contribute to the project through a drop-in session which will be organised in due course.

Should residents have any queries in the meantime, they should contact northeast-newcastle@environment-agency.gov.uk