2021 UK River Prize

UK River Prize > 2021 UK River Prize

Congratulations to the River Keekle, Winner of the 2021 UK River Prize

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View the recording of the Awards Dinner




2021 UK River Prize

The UK River Prize celebrates the achievements of those individuals and organisations working to improve the natural functioning and ecological integrity of our rivers and catchments, and recognises the global benefits to society of a healthy natural environment. It is a collaboration across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to celebrate best practice across the four countries.

The UK River Prize is awarded by the River Restoration Centre (RRC). It is judged by a panel of UK experts. The UK River Prize winners will be announced on 21st October 2021 at the UK River Prize Awards Dinner, in association with the RRC Annual Network Conference in Harrogate.

2021 UK River Prize Winner
River Keekle Restoration, Cumbria

The immediate catchment of the River Keekle (upper) from Walkmill Bridge to Keekle Bridge was a former opencast coal site. Whilst mining operations were taking place (1987 to 1995) the river was diverted, and in 1996 it was restored back along its original course. The restoration of the river however needed careful consideration as ~ 8 million tonnes of mine spoil was now buried underneath where it used to flow. For this reason, a 3 metre clay cap, an HDPE plastic liner and stone boulder weirs were placed along the course of the river before the river could flow back in its natural course.

Following the floods of 1998 and 1999 most of the stone was washed downstream and the liner destroyed in places. The destruction of the liner has escalated over the years with many torn areas where the river flows under, over and round the side of the liner causing mass erosion in places. There were grave concerns that the river was eroding the clay cap and could therefore start entering the spoil waste, causing toxic heavy metals to flow into the River Ehen. This would have gravely affected fish populations (particularly Atlantic Salmon). The River Keekle Restoration Project was established to fully remove the liner from a 2.5km stretch of river and replace with stone, gravels, cobbles and boulders to restore the river into a fully functioning, ecologically thriving river with good water quality that is re-connected to its floodplain.

2021 UK River Prize Finalist
EPIC - Enhancing Places, Inspiring Communities

The Enhancing Places, Inspiring Communities (EPIC) project has daylighted, through realignment, a 1km section of the Broadwater Brook, located on the edge of Worthing, West Sussex. This ephemeral chalk spring-fed stream sits within the Teville Stream catchment and is fed from groundwater springs within the South Downs National Park, augmented by surface water runoff from urban infrastructure. The Teville Stream catchment is classified (2019) as heavily modified with Bad ecological status under the Water Framework Directive due to “Bad” Biological Quality, “Moderate” Physio-chemical Quality, and “Failing” for Priority Hazardous Substances.

The aim of the project is to improve and conserve the Broadwater Brook and enhance wetland and hedgerow features within the Sompting Brooks Estate to decrease water pollution and increase biodiversity value of the urban greenspace. The project is being monitored using a logic model linked to SMART objectives across a wide range of parameters.



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Thank you to the 2021 Partners

Find out more about the UK River Prize and previous winners >>>