The Eels Regulations (2009)

Dramatic declines in the numbers of European eels mean that the species is currently outside safe biological limits.

The EU has adopted regulations that aim to allow eel stocks to recover in a variety of ways. This regulation was transposed into UK law through The Eels Regulations. These:

  • Give powers to the regulators – the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales – to implement recovery measures in all freshwater and estuarine waters in England and Wales.
  • Aim to achieve 40 per cent escapement of adult eels relative to escapement levels under pristine conditions.
  • Implement measures to reduce fishing pressures, improve access and habitat quality and reduce the impact of entrainment.
  • Provide for screening at water intakes and outfalls.
  • Ease passage at obstructions to migration.

What the Eels Regulations mean for companies

Eels Regulations: screening, passage and entrainment 1

Under the Eels Regulations, the regulators can serve notice to water abstractors detailing their legal obligation to screen intakes and outfalls for eel.

However, it may be possible to object to the screening obligation on the grounds of exemption. APEM can assess a site, determine whether there is an exemption case and assist with negotiations with the regulator.

Where solutions are required, we carry out an options appraisal based on our extensive experience of the design of screens at different intake scenarios. Brief designs and CAPEX and OPEX costs are developed for the preferred solution, to inform a cost-benefit analysis.

  • Eel screen on an ouflow
  • Three eel and fish screens on water outflows
  • Eel and fish screen in a stream

Help with the Eels Regulations and eel screening guidance

APEM is experienced in using the cost-benefit model used by the Environment Agency and Defra, having applied it to numerous eel screening options appraisals throughout England and Wales. We have also critiqued the technique on behalf of the water industry.

If the preferred eel screening solution is not cost beneficial, we lead clients through the Environment Agency’s process for looking at alternative measures. We develop plans of alternative measures for approval by the regulator, and also manage the plan’s subsequent implementation.

Our Eels Regulations services

  • Exemption advice.
  • Eel screening guidance.
  • Long and short-term entrainment and impingement investigations to determine species and life stages at risk.
  • Surveys to determine the presence or absence of eels and their life stages.
  • Assessment of current screening to ensure adequate protection.
  • Risk assessment of intake configuration.
  • Screening design and advice.
  • Advice on the design of fish recovery-and-return systems.
  • Experimental trials of screening solutions.
  • Development of behavioural deterrents.
  • Injury and mortality modelling for hydropower turbines.
  • Cost-benefit analysis and assessments of alternative measures, using models from the Environment Agency and Defra.

For more information on the Eels Regulations and eel screening guidance, download our free guide: Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009.

If you have any queries, please contact Nicola Teague, associate director.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.