Independent Dam Engineer’s Report Dismisses Plan to Destroy Historic Fishing Venue

Cannop Ponds in the Forest of Dean are a beautiful and popular fishing destination for many local anglers. The ponds have been in existence for nearly 200 years and the local club Yorkley & District AC have leased the fishing on the ponds for over 40 years. In recent months, Government organisation Forestry England, who own the ponds, have proposed draining the lakes in a “re-wilding” scheme that would see this historic and ecologically diverse beauty spot lost forever. There has been a huge groundswell of opposition to this move which extends way beyond the fishing club and includes many local people.

Forestry England have said that structural problems with the dams that create the lakes means that they are forced to look at alternatives and that the best option is to drain the lakes. However, the Save Cannop Ponds Group have raised funds to have their own qualified engineer inspect the site and his findings have now been released.

Highly qualified dam engineer Crawford Munro BSc CEng CWEM FICE FCIWEM has dismissed Forestry England’s plan to drain and destroy the ponds. Mr Munro inspected the site on February 1st and spoke with members of the Save Cannop Ponds team, Yorkley & District Angling Club, Forestry England and its contractor ARUP at the ‘Stakeholder Workshop’ held the following day at Speech House. His view is that Forestry England are pursuing one plan to remove the dams and drain the ponds to the exclusion of all other, less costly, more logical options which would allow the existing  dams to be repaired and brought fully up to date without the loss of the ponds themselves and  their long established eco-system.

In his report on the situation published on Friday, Mr Munro says:

“Forestry England should instruct their engineering advisers to pursue dam repair … which can be constructed at a lesser cost than ‘re-wilding” with the ‘Win Win benefit of reducing the flooding risk downstream during storm events.”

He continues: “Removal of the lakes… will significantly reduce the diversity of the forest and result in much lesser use and enjoyment by the public at large. This will adversely affect the local economy.”

Angling Trust Head of Communications and local angler John Cheyne said:

“Cannop Ponds is an extraordinarily beautiful and historic site that has been fished by our member club Yorkley & District for over 40 years. There has been huge local opposition to the plans to drain the lakes and this independent engineer’s report suggests that the most economic and best course of action is to repair the problems that have resulted from Forestry England’s neglect. It’s enormously frustrating that Forestry England seem determined to destroy a place that has given so many local people so much joy for the past two centuries.”

Angling Trust representatives will be present at the next public meeting held to discuss the issue on March 30th.

To sign the Save Cannop Ponds Petition click the link 


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