Molesey Weir is an historic site which was built in 1883 to control the flow of the river Thames. Yet, due to its age, the weir has recently had to undergo major work in order to remain efficient.  The process has taken around three and a half years to complete from the outline design stage to the completion of the building work and it is on schedule to finish before Christmas. However, over the course of the project, around 5 – 6 million pounds has been spent on funding, causing many to wonder: was it was really worth it?

Matt Walker (the Project Manager and an Engineer of the scheme) explained how the dipping and radial gates that have been installed can be raised or lowered to provide greater control over the flow of the water. They also enable high volumes of water to flow through and will be much easier and quicker to operate. This should greatly benefit flood risk management and navigation along this stretch of the Thames.  In addition, a larinier fish pass has been installed which will disturb the water flow to attract all species of fish to swim upstream. It also contains a pool for the fish to rest in on their journey whilst enabling wildlife conservationists to monitor which types of fish are in that area of the river and to observe the amount of fish that use it. It is hoped that all species of fish will be attracted, not just salmon and trout as before.

Some local residents commented that the work had at times been very disturbing due to the amount of noise produced and that it had caused much inconvenience. However one individual stated “we realise the need for the work and I am sure the outcome will outweigh any negatives that we have experienced”.

In my opinion, the project has been a success and very beneficial in both the long and short term as it will hopefully reduce the impact that future floods may have on the area, enable river flow to be managed easily and the river levels maintained for easier boat navigation.

By Nicola Evans, Surbiton High School.