UK: Dredging Project to Give Adderbury Lakes Sparkling Future
Oxfordshire’s Adderbury Lakes is a much-loved local nature reserve, attracting both village walkers and photographers keen to capture the beauty of the setting in which specimen trees and wildlife such as kingfishers and herons grace the eighteenth-century landscaped pools and waterfalls.
And after years of maintenance and management by dedicated volunteers, the Lakes face an important milestone in its history. An innovative de-silting process from industry leaders Ebsford Environmental Ltd has commenced which should secure the future of this precious local gem and become an exemplar for sensitive ecological management throughout the region.
Over the decades, leaf material falling into the lakes has resulted in an excessive build up of silt. Without specialist action, the tranquil pools could degenerate into bogs within five years. As silt dries it encourages weed growth, creating a surface that often looks firm enough to walk on, significantly reduces biodiversity and could be hazardously unstable.
The Adderbury Lakes Local Nature Reserve Management Committee (a sub-committee of the Adderbury Parish Council) is responsible for the management of the Lakes, which were purchased by the Council and designated a Nature Conservation Area with public access in 2003. The local community are involved in regular working parties and have been regularly updated and consulted through open village meetings. Preserving both the beauty of the site and the biodiversity and integrity of the surrounding area has remained paramount to the Committee, and the challenge of finding a long-term solution to preserve this compact, sensitive site, difficult to access with large machinery, has been a real concern.
Ebsford Environmental Ltd., a leading industry expert in the field of aquatic remediation renowned for specialising in difficult projects of this kind, have now offered a solution in the form of their specialist TRUXOR amphibious machines.
Lightweight, manoeuvrable and designed to work on or off water, the machines are capable of working in the tightest and most challenging of aquatic environments and ideal for a site where access is limited. Nick Hartley from Ebsford Environmental believes that the project will demonstrate that even the trickiest ecological areas can flourish for future generations using cutting-edge technology.
“When approaching a project which is both of particular importance to a community but also to the local environment, it is crucial that the contractor is able to empathise with the client and can assess the needs of all parties involved before specifying a solution. On this project we were conscious of the years of hard work The Adderbury Lakes Local Nature Reserve Management Committee had already undertaken and aware that we must respect their vision and deliver a system which gives them what they have pictured all along what has been a sometimes difficult road. We are passionate about all our clients, but in particular if we can give communities a usable and improved facility that will be in place for many years it becomes a source of immense satisfaction,” Nick Hartley comments.
The first stage in the process will be to lay NICO span (a geotextile material), forming aquatic fences for new wetlands around designated areas of the lake. These areas will then be filled with the dredged silt,which once dry will be planted with a mixture of native marginal vegetation, using a minimum of 16 species in differing sizes and colours. In the areas where silt is of a non-aquatic nature, a variety of native woodland wildflowers will also be planted. Although the removal of silt from a site is often the quickest solution, it can be both costly and environmentally damaging, so Ebsford’s more sensitive approach aims to simultaneously protect the delicate balance of the area, maximise limited local resources, and add to the bio-diversity of the lake.
The work has been made possible with invaluable support from environmental advisers and funding from Viridor Credits. This is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which provides funding for community, heritage and biodiversity projects around the UK through the Landfill Communities Fund.
The need for the de-silting project is fully supported by the Environment Agency and the Lakes Committee are enthusiastic about the project and the lasting value the work will create for nature lovers in the Adderbury area. As Chairman of both the Adderbury Parish Council and Lakes Committee, Diane Bratt is delighted with the start of a fresh new era for the Lakes. “It’s really exciting to see this project taking shape. The Lakes Committee have planned this for a long time and we hope to revitalise the Lakes area by increasing the biodiversity. We are all very enthusiastic about how this will add to the enjoyment of the Lakes for everyone who visits.”
Press Release, February 11, 2013