The River Avon, upon which this approach is based, is one of the UK’s most biodiverse chalk streams. The importance of the river is recognised by its designation as an internationally important Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA), as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Sluice and hatch operation is a key factor in managing water levels throughout the River Avon catchment. With over 100 weir and hatch structures throughout its entire length, it is crucial that an integrated approach to their management is adopted to enable control of water levels for the benefit of the river and adjacent floodplain and to reflect the many different functions of the river. Currently, many of structures along the River Avon are in private ownership and hatch operators have no clear guidance on best practice.