Possible development threats to wildlife up for discussion

PUBLISHED: 14:01 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 13:39 04 May 2010

CONSERVATIONISTS have called a public meeting to discuss the threat to Ely s wildlife if Roswell Lakes are developed. Members of the newly-formed East Cambridgeshire branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England fear vital nesting areas could

CONSERVATIONISTS have called a public meeting to discuss the threat to Ely's wildlife if Roswell Lakes are developed.

Members of the newly-formed East Cambridgeshire branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England fear vital nesting areas could be lost and wildlife driven away if activity were increased on the lake.

They have expressed their concerns after Ely's Cathedral Marina owner, Jeremy Tyrrell, bought the lakes earlier this year and is working towards creating a 10-year vision for the area.

He said he saw Roswell Lakes as being able to cater better than the marina for different types of boats and their needs.

But conservationists fear that he will bring larger craft, including houseboats, and a pumping station to the lake which could lead to harmful materials being discharged into the water, putting wildlife at risk.

If weed beds were destroyed this could lead to vital nesting sites for birds being lost, they say.

The meeting will take place at Ely Sailing Club on December 6 at 7pm.

John Crow, who represents the new CPRE branch, said: "Roswell Pits was created by man as an industrial site but nature has done a wonderful job of utilising it. Areas where wildlife can nest and exist are becoming fewer and fewer.

"There is no flow of water at the lake. It is effectively a cul-de-sac of water and any discharge into the water would inevitably destroy wildlife."

In a bid to allay their fears, Mr Tyrrell said: "We have been and are meeting, informally in the first instance, with all interested parties to explore concepts and desires with a view to being able to formulate a preliminary draft plan which can then be worked up more formally, leading eventually to the relevant planning applications.

"We are very encouraged that there seems to be no significant conflicts between different groups and a coherent vision is evolving.

"We would stress that we would like to hear from any other groups with interests in order to integrate these views in the visionary process."

He added that although there are no clear plans at this early stage he firmly believes much better public use of the area is possible and the sailing club and fishing club should have the opportunity to grow and prosper.

East Cambridgeshire District Council planning team leader, Alan Dover, said: "We recognise the precious nature of the area and in any discussions would resist any development proposals that might significantly harm the wildlife and their habitats.

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