More than 300 barriers were taken down last year, boosting the health of waterways and the wildlife they support, say experts

A record number of river barriers, including dams and weirs, were removed across Europe in 2022, with at least 325 taken down in 16 countries, allowing rivers to flow freely and migratory fish to reach breeding areas.

In its annual report, Dam Removal Europe said Spain led the way for the second year with 133 removals, followed by Sweden and France. The UK completed 29 removals, including Bowston Weir, which was built on the River Kent nearly 150 years ago for a paper mill. Its removal will help restore the health of the river, which is home to white-clawed crayfish, freshwater pearl mussels, and water crowfoot (an oxygenating aquatic plant).

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