Council finds £250k to pay for lake desilting

Photo of Cllrs John Ashe (left) and Roger Avenin at the lake.
Cllrs John Ashe (left) and Roger Avenin at the lake.

Councillors in Bradley Stoke have welcomed South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) allocation of £250,000 to an environmental project that will see the lake in the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve desilted for the first time in 15 years.

The lake, which regularly floods due to its current condition, is in acute need of desilting and has been the subject of public concern about the impact on wildlife and potential loss of amenity.

Following campaigning by the local councillors for the Bradley Stoke South ward, Cllrs John Ashe and Roger Avenin, to see residents’ concerns addressed, SGC’s Cabinet has approved a reallocation of funds from its Highways Maintenance budget.

The money originates from an unspent portion of A4174 Challenge Fund – originally made available to speed up work on the recent Bromley Heath Viaduct repair project.

The scheme, which requires the removal of up to 4,000 cubic metres of silt and restoring the lake environment to the original landscape plans, including a 300m ‘stone to dust’ footpath, will enhance the wetland area for the community, improve resistance to flooding and enhance local biodiversity.

Cllr John Ashe commented:

“Areas like the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve should be enjoyed all year round, and you are hard pressed to go there in the daytime and not see the likes of dog walkers and joggers or young families going to feed the ducks, along with groups of school children getting to know and appreciate nature. So when it ends up flooding after some rain, it might not pose a threat to nearby homes, but it can definitely have a profound effect on the community of people that make use of it, as well as washing away the nesting areas of the local wildlife.”

“In recent months, so many residents have been in touch with myself and my council colleague Cllr Roger Avenin about the state of the lake and how, while they enjoy it during the summer months, they are put off using it in between late autumn and early spring due to the increased chance of flooding. Many also raising their concerns that, if gone unchecked, the damage to the area could get even worse.”

“Having taken those views to the council, and argued the case for local residents, I am really pleased that funding will be put into this environmental project.”

Outlining the history of the lake, a spokesperson for SGC said:

“Streams flowing from Patchway, Hortham, Little Stoke and Stoke Gifford all feed into the lake, which was constructed in 1993 to create an amenity pond for local residents. The lake was last desilted in 2005 and is now in need of desilting again. During the summer in 2019 low water flow exposed large areas of silt, exposing wildfowl nesting on the islands to predators including foxes and cats. This winter the high rainfall experienced across the country has led to the lake flooding twice.”

The spokesperson continued:

“The timing of the desilting work is restricted to between November and February due to the protected wildlife which uses the wetland area, including water voles and otters. Between now and next autumn, the council will appoint a contractor and work with the Environment Agency to obtain a bespoke licence.”

“We will work closely with the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group, Bradley Stoke Town Council and residents to ensure the scheme is successfully delivered and provide regular updates, in the form of on-site notices and posts on the council’s Streetcare Facebook page

Photo of flooding at the Three Brooks Lake on Friday 11th October 2019.
Flooding at the lake in October 2019.

Related link: Agenda and reports for Cabinet meeting on 13th January 2020 (Item 10, Appendix 5 refers)

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 14 & 15). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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