River Alt Weir Project


Mersey Rivers Trust has been awarded a grant from the European Open Rivers Programme to carry out planning and design work to remove the disused Alt Weir, upstream of Bull Bridge in Aintree, Merseyside.

The Mersey Rivers Trust has an ambitious 30-year fish improvement strategy for all the Mersey rivers, including the River Alt, which flows from Huyton in Knowsley into Liverpool Bay at Hightown in Sefton. We have worked in partnership with the weir owners United Utilities and the Environment Agency, to develop this project, and are all very pleased it has succeeded in attracting funding.

The European Open Rivers Programme is a grant giving organisation dedicated to restoring rivers across the European continent and funded by a charitable foundation, Arcadia.

You can see this project on the Open Rivers website here

Why Weirs?

Weirs are man-made structures, historically constructed on rivers or becks for industrial purposes. Many were constructed to hold and divert water to mills to power machinery. Many of these mills have closed or disappeared altogether, and the associated weirs no longer serve the purpose they were originally built for.

Weirs can alter the flow of a river, can be barriers to fish migration, effect temperature and habitats for wildlife.

Alt Weir is one of many hundreds of disused weirs across the Mersey rivers that have been left behind from previous industrial activities, which prevent the free movement of fish. The weir is too high for fish and the critically endangered Freshwater Eel to be able to swim over it and move upstream in the River Alt catchment to important spawning and nursery habitats.


Open Rivers Programme

Thanks to securing funding from the European Open Rivers programme, this project is part of an ambitious programme across Europe to open up rivers for fish movement.

Working with stakeholders and landowners, together we can now start to improve fish and Eel passage throughout the River Alt catchment.

The funding will be used to design the safe removal of the weir, obtain environmental permissions and confirm the cost of the removal work.  Further funding will then be sought to carry out the weir removal itself.

About the European Open Rivers Programme

The European Open Rivers Programme is a Dutch grant giving foundation funded by Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. The foundation aims to restore endangered European rivers by supporting interventions that lead to the removal of small dams and the restoration of river flow and biodiversity, and furthermore to do all that is related or conducive to the above.

Arcadia supports charities and scholarly institutions that preserve cultural heritage and the environment. Arcadia also supports projects that promote open access, and all of its awards are granted on the condition that any materials produced are made available for free online. Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded more than $910 million to projects around the world.

More information available at:




Mersey Basin Campaign | Resources

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