UK River Prize


The 2017 UK River Prize & Nigel Holmes Trophy


Press release

The Awards Evening was once again held during the RRC's Annual Network Conference in Brighton on the 4th & 5th April 2017. The Nigel Holmes Trophy and a £2,000 cheque was awarded to the partners of the River Avon Restoration Project. Congratulations to all involved!
2017 UK River Prize Winner
River Avon - Hampshire, Wiltshire & Dorset
Catchment Project

The River Avon Restoration Programme (RARP) was set up to restore the River Avon Special Area of Conservation (SAC) to a naturally functioning river system to meet the government’s obligations under the Water Framework and Habitats Directives.

The implementation of RARP is an ambitious project as it aims to restore the River Avon to a naturally functioning river that supports characteristic chalk stream habitats and wildlife. The objective is to strategically deliver natural-process based schemes that restore reaches of river that have been most damaged by past physical modifications.

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2017 UK River Prize Finalists
River Frome - Stroud Rural Sustainable Drainage Project
Innovation Project

The Stroud RsuDs project is located in the catchment of the Stroud River Frome, which rises from the Cotswold escarpment in Gloucestershire. The project arose primarily out of a concerted effort by community flood action groups to reduce flood risk using natural flood management techniques.

The vision is “To create a river catchment where water management is fully integrated into land management practices. Where public bodies, private companies and local communities work together to manage water within the landscape, creating valuable habitat for wildlife and people, and limiting flood risk downstream”.

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Healthy Rivers Project - South East Wales Valleys
Urban Communities Project

The Healthy Rivers programme at Groundwork Wales carries out work on the rivers of South East Wales with the aim of improving the river habitats so that they can support greater populations of native fish such as salmon, trout, eels and bull heads.

The work that Healthy Rivers carries out has a direct positive impact upon the river habitats of South East Wales by making the rivers more accessible to migrating fish by removing barriers to fish migration, total of 28 barriers removed or modified. Healthy Rivers has also helped to remove 30 tonnes of rubbish and engage local people by offering volunteer opportunities, community river care days and training opportunities. This instils a long term appreciation of the river habitats. Engaging local communities is essential for the conservation of the rivers, if they are engaged local people will appreciate the rivers and look after them in the future.

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Pearls in Peril Project - Rivers across England, Scotland & Wales
Partnership & Multiple Benefit Project

Pearls in Peril’ (PIP) is a large and complex LIFE+ Nature project with 22 partners working together throughout Great Britain to restore river habitats for freshwater pearl mussels and their host salmonids. The UK holds many of the largest remaining pearl mussel populations in Europe. The project began in 2012 and finished in March 2017. Work extended across 21 rivers designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for pearl mussels.

The project is led by Scottish Natural Heritage, who began planning the project in 2010 with other partners. The catalyst for the project was a desire to undertake coordinated and carefully planned actions in several key catchments to restore the species habitats and, thereby, improve the conservation of pearl mussels.

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Highly Commended Projects
Although these projects were not selected as eventual category winners, the UK River Prize judges wish to acknowledge the considerable efforts and achievements of all involved in these projects.
Bottesford Beck River Soar East Tullos Burn
Friends of Bottesford Beck Environment Agency & Leicester City Council Aberdeen City Council (ACC)

Friends of Bottesford Beck (FOBB) came together and formed as a fully constituted voluntary action group of 11 members in 2011 to improve the ecology of this important waterway and enhance the surrounding environment, making it more accessible to the local community. All members of the group are committed volunteers who work together to deliver the project with support from the Local Authority, North Lincolnshire Council.

Leicester is one of the cities at greatest risk of flooding in the UK. Having limited defences, a high proportion of the population are at flood risk. The River Soar and tributaries running through the city suffer from diffuse pollution and physical modification. 

The Environment Agency & Leicester City Council work in partnership to tackle these issues alongside the Soar Catchment Partnership. Flood risk is a constraint to regeneration, and a major flood event could cause serious economic losses in the city.

In a bid for sustainable development and economic growth, ACC’s vision is for ‘Aberdeen to be an ambitious, achieving, smart city’ ensuring ‘citizens are encouraged and supported appropriately to make their full contribution’ in helping to achieve the vision.  Aims to assist the vision include having a smarter environment and smarter living with a focus on natural resources and quality of life.



River Champions  

The success of projects aiming to improve rivers for wildlife and people is largely influenced by the involvement of volunteers. The River Restoration Centre understands the importance of this contribution and wishes to acknowledge those that may otherwise not get recognition.

‘River Champions’ seeks to celebrate the outstanding efforts of individuals contributing to river restoration in their area.  It aims to recognise those dedicating time outside of their day-to-day roles to contribute toward improving rivers for wildlife and people.


Find more information about the 2017 River Champions here.


Learn more about the background of the UK River Prize and view the previous winners here.

Rivers  Eden, Derwent & Kent River Tweed River Wensum
2016 UK River Prize 2015 UK River Prize 2014 England River Prize


Thiess International Riverprize Now Open!

Any organisation or partnership who has implemented a successful program of activities benefiting a river, lake, wetland or estuary, in any part of the world, is encouraged to apply.

The winner will be announced at the Riverprize Gala Dinner in Brisbane on September 19th 2017, receiving AU$200,000 in prize money from the Bert & Vera Thiess Foundation.

Applications close March 24th 2017.

Click here to apply for the International Riverprize!