EXCLUSIVE: Safety fears force Environment Agency to close off part of Ely’s Roswell Pits to public

Roswell Pits

Roswell Pits - Credit: Archant

THE Environment Agency has barred the public for accessing parts of Ely’s Roswell Pits over fears the area is no longer safe.

The agency announced this week that it had fenced off the northern side of the pits and its footpaths for the “foreseeable future” because of fears that the deteriorating paths and tracks could pose a health and safety risk to walkers.

The agency said that alternative access to the site would be explored only if funding could be sourced.

Roswell Pits was declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest back in 2009, granting it special protection from development and for its rare species, including the bittern.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We have fenced off the northern side and footpath of Roswell Gravel Pits for health and safety reasons.

“There are steep, often slippery, ground conditions leading straight into the water – posing serious risks for members of the public who walk along the bank and footpath.

“After careful consideration of all possible options to increase safety at the site, we agreed that fencing off the area and preventing public access for the foreseeable future was the only affordable option.

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“We hope to work with Ely Country Park in the future, if funding becomes available, to look at alternative access options on this site.

“Fencing the area will also have the benefit of decreasing disturbance to this Site of Special Scientific Interest - meaning birds and other wildlife should thrive and it will allow the vegetation to recover.”