Midlothian Esk's Barrier Easement Scoping Study


The Midlothian Esk’s is like any other central belt river and has many pressures, one of which is old redundant weirs left over from the Industrial Revolution.  The Trust was approached by SEPA to support them in identifying all barriers within the catchment, assess the available habitat and scope out options for easement for the impassable barriers found.

The Trust carried out a full walkover of the North and South Esk rivers in Midlothian to digitally map available habitat and identify locations of all barriers. Thirteen barriers were identified on the main stem which were deemed to be impassable or have a substantial impact on migratory fish.

Once this work had been completed, the Trust employed Royal HaskoningDHV, a consultancy specialising in engineering and project management to carry out a scoping study on all 13 barriers to identify potential options which could help fish migrate over each barrier.

As part of this study, communities near each barrier were consulted on options to identify additional pressures which may be present but also to encourage the community to be involved with this project.

A report was produced as part of this work which can be found below which outlines all options for each barrier.

As funding was only provided to the Trust for this stage of the project, barriers on the Esk have not been eased. SEPA paused this project in 2016 . The Trust is in constant communication with SEPA about this project and raises the urgent need to ease barriers in the Esk catchment for migratory fish. If you would like further information or would like to contact SEPA to encourage them to restart this project please email SEPA’s Water Environment Fund restoration.proposals@sepa.org.uk 

Contact Forth Rivers Trust to request a copy of the report. Processing fee may apply. 


  • Create an inventory of habitat within the Midlothian Esk catchment.
  • Identify all barriers to fish migration within the Midlothian Esk catchment.
  • Scope all barriers and identify suitable options for easement to help migratory fish.


This project was funded by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s Water Environment Fund.