Robert Warner, the project manager for the Canal & River Trust, has provided this update regarding the state of play at The Lakes.
It has been brought to the attention of the Environment Agency and subsequently to the Trust that the illegal introduction of a number of wels catfish (believed to be around 30) into all three of the reservoirs has taken place during 2017. Wels catfish are a non-native fish species that the Trust are not permitted to keep.
Consequently, the EA has issued a notice of variation of permit conditions requiring the removal of the catfish. At present the reservoirs have a holding of approximately 30%, only once in the last 19 years have the reservoirs been lower. As such, undertaking a fish rescue and emergency repairs to the valves with immediate effect will reduce the impact on the fishery and water resources for future years.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the water levels are currently reducing – we have pencilled w/c 27th November for the first fish rescue at Engine Pool, with Windmill Pool to follow. The levels will be drawn down significantly during this period, with an obvious impact upon activities in & around the lakes.
Unfortunately, due to the weight restrictions on Malthouse Lane, the pumps required for the drawdown could only be sited on the southern end of the causeway. Given the rate of inflows into Engine Pool, the pumps may need to run over a 24hr period for a minimum of 4 to 5 days to enable the water levels to drop and not recharge overnight. This will help to significantly reduce the overall duration of pumping activities.
I have been out to Earlswood last week to speak to affected residents on Malthouse Lane to inform them of the plans and to keep them in the loop regarding any potential disruption.
We apologise for any inconvenience during this period. I’m happy to provide updates as works progress