River Cole Project Video Transcript

Title: River Cole and Tyseley Energy Park: Creation of a Community Commons Project - Weir Removal

Duration: 4.18 mins


[Dr Emily Prestwood, Energy Development Manager, Birmingham Energy Institute.] We're hear today by the River Cole to hear about a progress on a project that the University of Birmingham are delivering. The project is rehabilitating an area of green and blue space to bring it back in to use by the local community.

[TEXT: River Cole and Tyseley Energy Park: Creation of a Community Commons Project.]

It is an ERDF funded project so 50% of the funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund and then 50% of funding comes from our partners on the project; University of Birmingham, Birmingham City Council, The Environment Agency and the Active Wellbeing Society.

[TEXT: Delivered by: University of Birmingham, Birmingham City Council, The Environment Agency and the Active Wellbeing Society. Funded by: Midlands Engine, European Regional Development Fund]. 

[Adam Noon, Catchment Coordinator, Envrionment Agency]. Stood here on what remains of Ackers weir and we are so excited to be here today to see this project finally come to life. This has been many many years in the making and it has taken a huge level of collaboration with various partners to get to where we are today.

[Emily Prestwood] Thomas can you give us an update on the programme so far?

[Thomas Levick, Engineering Manager, Sanctus Ltd] Absolutely, so we've started onsite a couple of weeks ago, we're about halfway through the weir removal now. We started onsite by clearing the area of invasive species to make our treatment area for the silts where we started drying those out. We've removed about 150 tonnes of concrete so far and there is about 150 tonnes to go. In terms of the treatment that's the longer part, that will be ongoing for a few weeks whilst we keep testing the materials to make sure they are going to be clean and suitable for use.

[Adam Noon] Before we started removing the weir we actually had to remove all the fish from upstream and downstream in to a safe abstrection of the river and we found a wide range of species downstream but almost no fish upstream of the river because the water quality was so poor.

[Thomas Levick] On this stretch of the river the weir acted as a way to slow down the water and caused a lot of sedimentation in this area which changes the biodiversity of it. This is our main treatment area here, this is where we are putting the sediments so that we can start the bioremediation process. So far we have taken out about 500 meters cubed of sediment and we are doing an enhanced bioremediation process which is using natural microbes in the soil, helping them with aeration, keeping it the right level of hydration to make sure that the microbes are really doing their job of breaking down those oils.

As part of that as well we are screening out the larger materials, this area of the Cole2 has got loads of metals in it, that's both dissolved metals but mainly metals from actual detritus so we are talking about shopping trolleys and things like that which are screening out as well. We've also taken out a large amount of wood that was used as the backing of the weir as part of the construction process and a lot of that had coating so we've taken that out as well and we are going to process that and dispose of that separately as well.

[Adam Noon] This weir effectively has severed the River Cole since it was constructed in 1852. It was built by a local metalworks company called Webster and Horsfall but the need of that water supply is long ceased, however the weir has still stayed in structure trapping those silts.

[Thomas Levick] So the next phase is really reinstating the natural river channel and enhancing what we've got to make it as biologically diverse as possible. Because the main problem for the weir it stopped passage of fish up and down the Cole for it's lifetime really and now that we've removed that what we are going to do is install the bed and make it as natural as possible. By removing the weir we are going to enhance the amount of biodiversity action, so the different types of flow, so there will be more types of fish, more types of birds and more types of insects which are allowed by it. And even by us treating the sediments outside of the weir we are going to increase the amount of insects that are in the area by creating hibernacula as well.

[Emily Prestwood] Through the various interventions that we will be carrying out we can create a active and accessible green travel hub that will be part of a new green innovation quarter that is going to developed in this area around Tyseley Energy Park.

[Logo European Regional Development Fund, Logo Midlands Engine]

[TEXT: Find out more birmingham.ac.uk/river-cole]

[Logos: Birmingham City Council, Envinroment Agency, Sport England, University of Birmingham Energy Institute, The Active Wellbeing Society.]