Tadcaster Bridge works prove a boon for breeding fish

This story was published 31 May 2017

The rebuilding of Tadcaster Bridge and restoration of the river site has been a challenge for engineer, contractor and community alike.

David Bowe, corporate director of business and environmental services, with some of the team who worked on Tadcaster bridge

But for the fish population in the River Wharfe, it's bonanza time.

Since the bridge reopened in February, North Yorkshire County Council and its contractors have been back in the river, completing works in the river bed and on the banks of the Wharfe

During May they have been filling in scour holes and removing stones and debris that built up due to the floods and subsequent restoration work.  However, this work has created gravelly channels in the river that have proved an ideal habitat for fish to spawn.

There's only about one week's work left to be done, but in the interests of the spike in fish population of chub and barbel, the county council has halted the remaining few tasks in the river until after the end of the coarse fishing closed season in the middle of June.

"We're almost there," said David Bowe, North Yorkshire's Corporate Director for Business and Environmental Services, "but people started to notice all the fish in the gravelly channels and so we took Environment Agency advice and decided to hold off the few remaining tasks until after the fish have spawned."

The county council will carry on resurfacing the bus station area and has applied for planning permission for street lighting on the bridge.

The county council pulled out all the stops to rebuild the bridge in just over a year, an undertaking which in normal times would have been a two-year project. 

The county council now intends to create seating and recreational facilities on the Wharfe's west side, utilising the remaining ramp and abutment from the temporary footbridge.  "We intend  to create a recreational area which would include information boards which will tell the bridge's history" added David Bowe.  "We believe this would be a fitting legacy and tribute to Tadcaster and the resilience of its community during this difficult year."

The fish on the other hand seem to be having a ball.