Updated 23 Nov 2003

The Eye Mead Project

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Response by Environment Agency

A Letter was sent to the Environment Agency, giving details of the Eye Mead Project for their consideration, together with sketches, maps and aerial photos.
The Response by the Environment Agency is transcribed below. In general they have no objection. They list approvals, licences and fees necessary and some further benefits are given. A suggestion of possible collaboration and funding are most welcome.
Any comments please contact the author:


Our Ref: (removed)
Your Ref: Letter

Date: 20 November 2003

Mr John Palmer
(address removed)

Dear Mr Palmer


Thank you for consulting the Environment Agency on the proposal, a copy of which was received on 3rd November 2003.

The Agency has no objection, in principle, to the proposal however we would make the following comments.

Flood Risk

The River Stour is designated a 'main' river and under the control of the Environment Agency. Under the terms of the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Land Drainaige Byelaws the proposed works will require the prior written consent of the Agency. You are advised to contact Marek Hudson-Cook on 01258 483384 to discus the scope of our controls.

There are a number of 'ordinary' watercourses currently discharging to the redundant arm of the River Stour from the vicinity of the A31(T). If the disused arm of the Stour were to be restored we would consider it necessary to carry out an assessment of the impact on water levels in the 'ordinary' watercourses to ensure that there will be no increase in flood risk elsewhere.

The proposal includes the laying of a pipe and construction of a flow control structure. Who will own, operate and maintain the structure? Are all the landowners, along the route of the proposed reinstatement, in agreement with the proposal? These issues will need to be addressed, in order to access the impact of the proposal.

Water Abstraction

An impoundment licence is required for any structure that is placed within a watercourse that causes the upstream water level to be raised outside of its normal wetted perimeter. The licence specifies a minimum prescribed flow that must continue downstream of the structure at all times in order to safeguard the downstream ecology and protected rights of other water users. This licence authorises the design and installation of the impounding structure and is commonly linked to an operating agreement which ensures that the structure is operated how it was originally intended by present and future operators.

An abstraction licence is also required for any proposal that abstracts water from a watercourse. The abstraction licence specifies maximum quantities that may be abstracted in order to ensure that the flows in the watercourse from which water is being abstracted are protected. In this instance an abstraction licence may therefore be required for the removal of water from the Stour at the inlet to the Lake mill stream.

These licences are required in order to ensure that the proposed restoration does not impact upon flows in the Dorset Stour, with particular regards to the volume of water located within the 3km long 'deprived reach' (the stretch of river located between the inlet to the Lake mill stream and the outlet downstream).

The application for an impoundment or abstraction licence involves an application fee of £110 and advertising costs of around £500 (two successive weeks in the local paper and one week in the London Gazette). The Agency has three months in which to determine the application once received. An abstraction licence also attracts an annual abstraction charge the cost of which is dependant upon the quantities of water authorised for abstraction and the purpose of the abstraction.

In order to to establish the likely licensing requirements, details of the inlet control structure shall be required, particularly with regards to the height at which the inlet is set within the river bank and the design and operation of the structure.

Should the applicant wish to discuss these details further then they can contact Ben Evans on direct dial: 01258 483393.

Nature Conservation

The proposal could offer a number of benefits, as detailed below:

This creates an opportunity to create a fish bypass channel for the weir at Eye Bridge for coarse fish species. The newly opened watercourse would benefit from having an open/easily passable system at the top and bottom of the channel/outlet were to fall directly below the weir. At present many coarse fish species are prevented from moving upstream by the weir.

Also, this creates a good opportunity to establish low velocity winter refuge for juvenile coarse fish. However, the amount of water diverted during low flows will have to be calculated, firstly to avoid low flow issues on the main river (dealt with through abstraction licensing), and secondly to ensure there is sufficient water in the newly opened channel to sustain wetland dependant wildlife. The applicant could consider creating a 2-stage channel within the newly opened channel in order to help facilitate flows during a low flow event.

Tree planting along the newly opened channel creates bankside cover for fish as well as otters. We suggest the applicant consider fencing to prevent excessive cattle poaching, thus allowing the establishment of emergent vegetation. This would allow newly planted trees to establish and where trees are not planted, could create lush emergent vegetation which could benefit water voles.

The applicant may also be interested to know the following:

We are currently involved in a project to promote and fund coarse fish improvements along the Stour. We would be very interested in this project as a collaborative project and may therefore be able to offer funding (speak to Steve Carter for more information).

We also have extensive otter records in this area of the Stour. Additionally, a study was carried out along this part of the Stour looking at habitat enhancements for otters. The National Trust have implemented some of these recommendations, but the applicant could also help create further otter habitat. We suggest the applicant talks to Bronwen Bruce at the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Yours sincerely


Tim Furmidge
Planning Liason Officer

Please ask for Tim Furmidge on 01258 483305
or email tim.furmidge@environment-agency.gov.uk

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