Tweed Forum nets UK river prize win

Fishing on The River Tweed underneath The Leaderfoot viaduct.
Fishing on The River Tweed underneath The Leaderfoot viaduct.

Its commitment to innovation and best practice has seen the Tweed Forum win a major national river management accolade.

The forum was confirmed as the winner of the new UK River Prize, and Tweed will be the first name to be etched on the specially-commissioned Nigel Holmes Trophy.

The announcement was made at a packed awards dinner in Northampton, during the River Restoration Centre’s annual conference. 

Tweed was one of 19 entries from the four home countries up for the award and Tweed Forum director, Luke Comins, says it is not just the £10,000 which goes with the trophy which is important.

“While the £10,000 prize is fantastic and extremely important, it is the recognition of years of work by the forum and its members that is perhaps more valuable,’ he said.

The trophy was established ‘to celebrate innovation and best practice in river restoration and catchment management’.  

In recent years, Tweed Forum has been responsible for a vast array of projects that have protected and improved miles of river; conserved wildlife, increased fish stocks and enhanced rare wetland habitats.

It has improved water quality, helped attenuate flooding and controlled Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed over 300 miles, as well as facilitating a plethora of projects that protect and promote the rich natural build and cultural heritage of the river.

Mr Comins added: “The work of Tweed Forum involves a large cast in planning, designing, funding, hosting and delivering restoration projects, and we are extremely grateful to all those that have helped achieve work on the ground.”

Chairman of Tweed Forum, Bob Kay CBE, who is standing down after 15 years at the helm, said the organisation had come a long way from its beginnings as an informal liaison group to an acknowledged leader in the field of river management.

“This is a credit to the forum team that work so hard in the interests of those who own, manage, use and enjoy the river and its environs. It’s been a great privilege to be involved in such a partnership,” he added.

Paying tribute, Martin Janes, managing director of the River Restoration Centre, said the Tweed Forum demonstrates the power of effective partnership and was a focused unanimous voice working on behalf of the river and the people it links together.

In the last five years, the forum, a charitable trust, has restored over 60km of river through fencing off and planting; re-meandered over 3km of straightened channel; installed 120 engineered woody debris features (flow restrictors, deflectors, gravel capture structures); removed 9km of flood embankment; planted 230ha of riparian woodland; created 30 wetlands; enhanced 125ha of raised bog and dammed 9km of ditch, and controlled invasive plants along almost 500km of river.

It has also saved a number of ancient monuments and listed structures from ruin.