Contractors have won approval to start dredging the bed of the River Tyne to create a trench for the second Tyne Tunnel’s immersed tube segments.
The Environment Agency (EA) has said work on the second Tyne Tunnel must be done carefully so salmon can migrate to the upper Tyne catchment for breeding.
Previously, the government had ruled that dredging should take place during winter to avoid the salmon migration season but new methods of dredging and disposal mean the work can be brought forward. The TT2 consortium is overseeing construction of the new tunnel.
A suction-cutting dredger will reduce the amount of silt disturbed. The silt will travel down a 1.5km pipe to the disused Tyne Dock. In using the pipe, more than 4,600 lorry journeys through built up areas will be avoided.
EA environment manager John Hogger said: “We have set the start date to avoid the summer period when existing water quality can cause problems for salmon migrating through the estuary.”
The Tyne is one of the best salmon rivers in England and studies suggest that each rod-caught salmon can generate as much as £4,600 for the local economy.