PUBLISHED: 11:59 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010
SIR, — During the last five months in Verulamium Park, St Albans, I have enjoyed the company of the RSPB showing the general public what happens in a heron s nest on the lake island using telescopes set up for children and adults, seen grey wagtails in th
SIR, - During the last five months in Verulamium Park, St Albans, I have enjoyed the company of the RSPB showing the general public what happens in a heron's nest on the lake island using telescopes set up for children and adults, seen grey wagtails in the Ver, numerous species of ducks and geese, dogs chasing a ball in the water, primroses, cowslips and snowdrops, a red kite flying across - and this is just the wildlife.
A recent Saturday was a lovely, balmy day and the splash area was hoaching with children and parents, a dad was lying on the grass watching his four-year-old happily, safely cycling on the grass, covering the same circuit over and over again. I was asked for directions to the museum by a large family group. Teen groups and family groups were walking along the river bank, queuing for ices and having tea in the park café.
A truly delightful asset we have in St Albans. An urban gem. People who visit St Albans remember it for two main things - the Abbey and Verulamium Park. Do we wish to change the predominant part of one of these treasures for a muddy-edged, idealised version of the lake we have for one in which ecologists can paddle in wellies?
Let them find sites in open country for such activities. Bill Oddie and company can give lots of examples. I've seen such an example in Dulwich recently. The area was indeed seething with a large variety of wild plants. It looked really delightful and I'm sure teemed with water life. But, as it had an undefined edge, it was enclosed by a stout iron railing. Do we want a fenced off ecological area for a vast cost, or something more interactive like we have already?
Others have written recently, including Robert Wareing, Peter Milne and Eric Roberts, on this topic and have made suggestions regarding the algae problem. I understand that an adequate throughput of water will carry enough oxygen to kill off algae. The Water Authority has in the past reduced the flow through the lake with apparently no consultation with the public. They may wish to make further reductions in the future. Could they consider increasing the flow? A consultation with Three Valleys may solve the algae problem.
I urge all others who are as appalled as I am about the proposal to remove the good firm lake edge and floor which will almost certainly destroy the lake as we know it, to write to The Heritage Lottery Fund, Terrington House, 13-15 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 1NL, which is being asked for a £2m grant, expressing your concerns about our lake in our park.
Claudian Place, St.Albans.