St Albans council to remove 150 tonnes of silt from Verulamium Lake following countless complaints

PUBLISHED: 14:27 29 July 2016 | UPDATED: 14:27 29 July 2016

Verulamium Lake, St Albans

Verulamium Lake, St Albans


Up to 150 tonnes of silt is to be removed from Verulamium Lake following years of complaints from the community.

Last week there were a number of dead swans found at Verulamium LakeLast week there were a number of dead swans found at Verulamium Lake

Hundreds of ducks have died from suspected avian botulism over the course of two summers, while complaints have been mounting about the smell and look of the lake.

This comes after a St Albans resident, Jon Humphrey, and his brother, Richard Humphrey, carried out an unofficial survey on the lake in 2012 warning the build up of silt was polluting the lake.

Despite maintaining they will not dredge the lake, the St Albans district council announced today (Friday) that they will be working with waste contractor ‘Veolia’ to use a sucking system to remove up to 150 tonnes of silt.

The £29,000 scheme is being regarded by the council as a breakthrough in their short-term attempts to improve the lake.

Dead birds on Verulamium LakeDead birds on Verulamium Lake

A tanker will be positioned near the pumping station opposite Westminster Lodge. A half-mile long pipe will be laid out from there to the lakes.

Silt will then be removed by suction and stored in the tanker before being taken to a treatment plant near Redbourn for disposal.

Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, the council’s portfolio holder for environment, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to negotiate all these obstacles and that people will soon start to see major improvements being made.

“Park users should be aware that this will not solve the underlying causes of the silt build-up, though. To do that, we are also working on a long-term project with the Environment Agency (EA) with a feasibility study already underway.”

Dead birds on Verulamium LakeDead birds on Verulamium Lake

Work is expected to start next week with the aim of it being completed by mid-August.

A new dedicated park ranger has also been appointed to work full-time on the lake.

In the long term the council are working with the EA and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) on a scheme to restore the River Ver to its natural state.

They hope this will improve water flow through the lakes to help prevent silt build-up.

A dead Canadian goose in Verulamium LakeA dead Canadian goose in Verulamium Lake

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