Agenda item

Firsby Reservoir

-           Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services to report.


Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways and Street Scene Services, introduced a report by the Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services which sought approval for a range of further works at Firsby Reservoir following on from the urgent works in December, 2012.


Further background information and the proposals going forward were referred to and set out in detail as part of the report.


A range of other measures were proposed, linked, to a greater or lesser to the lowered water level following the emergency works, and conversely to a greater or lesser extent to lack of recent maintenance, but all helping to reassure users of the site of Council’s continued commitment to the site as well as minimise ecological impact. These included:-


·                Scalloping of the shoreline of the larger lake to create opportunities for wading birds.

·                Importing large boulders to the downstream area of the new spillway to help protect the spillway sides and the receiving watercourse, and also to prevent quad bikes and similar from damaging the spillway sides and gaining general access to the site.

·                Eradication of self set willows from around both reservoirs and the dams.

·                Removing developing scrub on acid grassland below the small dam which will assist with future access to the dam crest.

·                Thin developing alder and oak on the water body margins and at the upstream areas of the site where the watercourses enter.

·                Hedgerow management especially along footpaths

·                Screening especially along north eastern edge of larger reservoir to lessen disturbance to loafing wildfowl, particularly Teal, in winter.


The above measures together with associated management in the long term would create a new ecological mosaic of habitats that would support a good range of bird species and other wildlife. Despite a small number of breeding bird species likely to be lost due to the reduction in open water area, the new layout would support existing and new species.


Discontinuance of the reservoir in this form would mean that health and safety legislation in respect of open water bodies would still need to be complied with. The majority of the structures associated with the reservoirs would also be retained and need to be maintained (in regard to the bridges) and kept visible with restricted public access (in regard to spillway and channel walls with drops behind). 


Cabinet Members welcomed the opportunity to complete the works to Firsby Reservoir, given this site’s ecological attraction.


Resolved:-  (1)  That Firsby Reservoir be approved to be retained in its current form (subject to any required minor works) and certification to be sought to have the reservoir ‘discontinued’ under the Reservoirs Act 1975.


(2)  That the appointment of a Qualified Civil Engineer to formally approve the further works required for the ‘discontinuance’ of the reservoir be approved.


(3)  That the minor works required be approved and for a range of mitigation works associated with the discontinuance and for works to improve access, to remove silt from the reservoir, and other minor associated works.


(4)  That a maximum of £125,000 of expenditure to fund items i) to iii) above be approved. The associated borrowing costs of £25,000 of this expenditure to be met by the Service, using the identified savings, and the associated borrowing costs of up to £100,000 expenditure to be met corporately.


(5)  That a further report be brought to Cabinet should early contractor involvement indicate any significance variance in the estimated cost of the further works becomes apparent.

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