South Cumbria Rivers Trust are currently working up a proposal to remove Bowston weir, on the River Kent near Burneside in South Cumbria.

This proposal has stemmed from collaboration work with the Environment Agency and Natural England to identify, investigate and deliver work to benefit the River Kent and its tributaries, as a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).This project is an Environment Agency project delivered in partnership with the South Cumbria Rivers Trust as part of the highly acclaimed Cumbria River Restoration Programme, which aims to restore our rivers for the benefit of both people and wildlife.

Discussions are underway and we encourage you to read our project outline for information about the proposal; formed in a question and answer document here- Bowston Question & Answer Document. There are also further updates below.

There have been a number of investigations into weirs on the River Kent and Tributaries SSSI and River Kent SAC that will provide background information about the work proposed, including:

River Kent Fluvial Audit, Jacobs 2010

(NB: The entire document is available by appointment at the Natural England offices in Kendal, Cumbria. See the Local Community Engagement Plan below for contact details).

River Kent and Tributaries SSSI and SAC- FINAL REPORT- Atkins 2015

(Natural England;  Disclaimer– The Atkins report is a report to Natural England on the feasibility of removal of 14 weirs in the catchment of the River Kent & Tributaries Site of Special Scientific Interest and River Kent Special Area of Conservation. The work was commissioned to help Natural England and the Environment Agency plan for future river management works in the Kent catchment to restore river habitats to a more natural state and hence to contribute to our work to achieve favourable condition of the SSSI/SAC. Any proposals to take forward any particular weir removal will be subject to consultation with local land owners, river users and local communities who may be affected, and will comply with the requirements of consenting bodies such as local planning authorities and the Environment Agency.)

Kent Weirs; Bowston weir options appraisal and design, cbec engineering 2019

Flood risk assessment, JBA consulting 2018.

Updates: Published 30. 07.2019
Based on feedback from the public regarding our initial material, we have produced the following updates to provide clarification, on some frequently asked questions – Bowston Weir removal proposal – UPDATE
We have also created a Local Community Engagement Plan that explains our objectives and the ways in which we aim to engage the public throughout this project proposal.
Update: Published 01.04.2020
SCRT Statement – Bowston and COVID-19

There will be further information added to this page, so please do keep checking our website for updates.

If you have any additional questions, please e-mail: and we will provide a response as soon as we can.