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Chafford Lane tilting sluice is an Environment Agency owned structure on the River Medway, which supports an approx. 3-4 kms of impounded river upstream. The impoundment degrades the river habitat in this upstream reach, creating a lowland type river environment in what would naturally be a riffle-pool sequence and presents a complete barrier to fish migration. 

The sluice structure at Chafford Lane no longer servers a purpose and as such is a redundant structure. Being a number of years old, the sluice is beginning to degrade and because it serves no purpose, is unlikely to be renovated. Due to this, a course of action is needed to ensure a safe and secure long term future for the site and there is an opportunity to remove or reduce the upstream impoundment, which will help restore this river habitat and provide benefits for fish and wildlife. More information can be found here:

http://www.southeastriverstrust.org/how-weirs-affect-fish-communities/

While removal of the sluice would have benefits for the river, it would also change a landscape that has been in existence for 700 years, as such I have been consulting local land owners, residents, river users etc. to hear their views and understand how you use / value the river and how any change to the current situation would effect them.

We are in a very early stage of the consultation and we have been discussing two extreme positions of a total removal and maintaining the status quo, while also considering a compromise position of lowering the sluice structure to reduce the impoundment and fitting a fish pass to allow fish passage and 'out of the box' solutions such as bypassing the impounded section with a new river channel and maintaining the impounded section as a lake / landscape feature.

Information from Dr Chris Gardner - Catchment Manager, South East Rivers Trust