Concerns have been raised about the possible lowering of a weir on the River Derwent at the beauty spot of Kirkham.
Dr Graham Smith, who formerly lived at Leavening, says the removal of the weir will affect through-navigation from Malton and Norton to the connected waterway network. “There can be no doubt that this will be irretrievable, so any opportunity of revival will be gone for the foreseeable future, and likely for ever.
“Lowering the weir will have two effects which will effectively prevent navigation as far as Kirkham Priory. Loss of depth for navigation is one effect, a second will be the increase in the velocity of the flow which will inhibit or prevent upstream passage.”
Coun David Lloyd-Williams, a member of both Malton and Norton Town Councils, said he was “very concerned” about the threat to the river and its potential impact on the two towns.
The Environment Agency said in a statement: “We are investigating the possibility of adapting the weir at Kirkham on the River Derwent to help fish migrate to important upstream spawning grounds.
“The weir and associated sluice gate act as a barrier to fish and lamprey and there is a cost to the EA in their on-going maintenance.
“As part of our investigation we will be carrying out a temporary lowering of the river in September to help us assess all possible impacts of the work including water levels.”