A FIVE-year restoration project on the River Avon has won a national award.

The River Avon Restoration Project won the 2017 UK River Prize in a competition that celebrates the most innovative and successful river projects across England, Scotland and Wales.

Judges were impressed by the project’s ‘whole river approach’ to restoration and management.

Partners involved in the work include the Environment Agency, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Wessex Rivers Trust, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Wessex Water and Natural England.

The project aims to restore the river to a more natural functioning river, boosting wildlife and water quality, while working with local communities.

It had previously won the catchment category in the competition.

Martijn Antheunisse, team leader for water projects at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This is great recognition for all the hard work we’ve done over the last five years.

“Not just for us, but especially for all the people and organisations we work with in this catchment.”

He added: “The restoration started in 2012 and will culminate in the completion of Phase 1 of the project later this year.

“Further work is needed to restore the remaining 185km of river and enable the river to respond and adapt to climate change and other future pressures.”

The different agencies joined together to restore reaches of the river which were most damaged in the past by manmade changes including the straightening or dredging of the river channel and construction of weirs and sluices.

Various methods have been used to improve habitats and restore natural flows and functions such as the removal, modification and bypassing of structures and re-alignment of the river to more natural positions in the floodplain.

The awards ceremony took place in Brighton earlier this month.