When carrying out repairs to railway bridges, culverts and tunnels, there can be an unavoidable need to dewater small sections of rivers which can have potential impacts on aquatic ecology. The requirement to mitigate these impacts are mandated in Environmental Permits and should be planned into the work schedule for the site.

Story Construction called upon APEM’s specialist team for an early-morning fish rescue and relocation deployment before they started essential work on a railway bridge structure crossing the River Bourne south of Tamworth.

The APEM team were quickly in place and started relocating a diverse and abundant fish population from the impacted reach of the Brook. Amongst the 1,000 fish eventually relocated were established colonies of bullhead, lamprey and spined loach: all designated fish species protected by UK Law. These fish were safely relocated to the watercourse away from the work and in areas providing suitable habitat.

Picture of spined loach, showing a healthy and growing population.

Thanks to strong and long-standing relationships with UK environmental regulators, the APEM team could work quickly and efficiently to secure permits and implement a biosecurity plan for the deployment. APEM staff also hold Construction Plant Competence Scheme cards, confined spaces training and specialist training including electric fishing techniques which momentarily stun the fish, allowing them to be safely captured.

The Story and APEM collaboration avoided construction delays at the site, whilst ensuring the fish populations of the Brook were protected as dictated by the Environment Permit.

If you’re unsure what permits and licences you need, APEM can help you arrange them. In addition, as an Environment Agency recommended supplier of such services we can start working swiftly and efficiently, saving time and money.

Repairs to bridges, tunnels and culverts are not just a daytime activity, nor are they just about fish rescue. Our Ecological Clerk of Works and service teams are integrated and can be deployed in combination, to offer our expertise with bats, aquatic mammals, fish or amphibians. The APEM team are on call 24 hours a day, and with offices nationwide, we can get out to a project quickly, wherever we’re needed.

“I was delighted to be part of the specialist team for this deployment and was pleasantly surprised to see the number of fish in the Brook at this point. To safely relocate these fish, notably the designated species, was really satisfying and it was great to see a healthy population of spined loach, one of my favourite freshwater fish species. This deployment by the STORY / APEM team just demonstrates the importance of implementing environmental permits which have wide reaching benefits to ecology and local biodiversity.”

Peter Dennis, Divisional Director – Field Operations and Health & Safety at APEM Ltd

“It was great to have APEM fish rescue team on standby at Bourne Brook. Once the river was dammed off stopping flow entering the West and Central bores the fish rescue team entered the river in their specialist PPE with their electrofishing equipment and carried out the fish rescue. They safely captured a plethora of different fish and relocated them back into the open river. The team were competent, fast and effective in carrying out the fish rescue at Bourne Brook and had vast amount of knowledge regarding the different species they found and were expecting to find.”

Safwaan Ali, Project Agent, Story Contracting

“Having never worked a fish rescue before I wasn’t sure what to expect when they first attended site, they explained their process to me in a clear, professional and informative manner and were enthusiastic throughout. There was a real sense of excitement about some of the species that they discovered, the team were a pleasure to work with and I look forward to working with APEM again.”

Tank Andy Maloney, Foreman, Story Contracting

APEM services

Find out more about the services related to this case study.

The Results

  • Over 1,000 fish safely relocated
  • Biosecurity plan safely implemented
  • Communication with environmental regulators and liaison with consenting teams
  • Implementation of Environmental Permits
  • Engagement of contractors on site