The partnership team behind the Fleet Pond Restoration Project in Hampshire are celebrating after being awarded a top engineering award by the Institute of Civil Engineers.
The project – a £250,000 scheme to improve water quality at Fleet Pond, Hampshire’s largest fresh water lake and a Site of Special Scientific Interest – won the Sustainability and Environmental Management Award at the annual ceremony. The lake is currently failing to achieve Good Ecological Potential under the Water Framework Directive
The award winning team included the Environment Agency, Hart District Council, Fleet Pond Society, Natural England, Johns Associates and WM Longreach.
The condition of Fleet Pond has deteriorated in recent years as a result of the build-up of silt, which enters the lake from the nearby Gelvert and Brookly streams and is seriously impacting pond life. The restoration project aims to improve water quality, restore habitats and biodiversity by creating a stream channel to carry away some of the silt and dredging to increase the depth of the lake. New lake islands have also been created to provide new reed beds for wildlife.
Not only is the project seeking to boost the health of the pond and its surrounding areas, but it has also made significant improvements for the visitors’ experience. New footpaths and bridges are available, along with new information boards and fishing jetties. All of this contributes to restoring Fleet Pond to an area of outstanding natural beauty.
John Sutton, Environment Agency Fisheries Team Leader, said: “We are extremely proud to have received this award, particularly given the impressive competition. This is a fantastic recognition of the partnership work that is delivering positive results for Fleet Pond.
“The area has already seen an increase in dragonflies, damselflies and bird populations in the marsh and reed areas, where nesting, roosting and feeding is safe from disturbance.”
The next phase of the project will get underway later this year and will include more dredging among other work.
The Environment Agency is currently seeking public views on the big issues affecting the South East’s water environment and what should be done to continue to improve it.
Press Release, July 9, 2013; Image: Fleet Pond Blog