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Wanstead Park chiefs are stuck in the mud over harmful aquatic weed

07:00 02 December 2016

The Ornamental Lake, in Wanstead Park, which has drained and created a large swathe of mud.

The Ornamental Lake, in Wanstead Park, which has drained and created a large swathe of mud.

Archant

Keen birdwatchers and other nature lovers have complained that the water level in Wanstead Park’s lakes has significantly dropped, causing large swathes of mud.

One of the ponds in the Grade II listed park, in Warren Road, Wanstead, is being ravaged by an invasive weed, called Floating Pennywort, which stops the water flowing between the lakes.

As a result “at least 50 per cent of the Ornamental Lake is now mud,” according to keen park goer Paul Donovan.

The photograph above shows the thick mud which has taken the place of half of the pond.

And Paul believes the City of London, which runs Wanstead Park, should be doing more to look after the historic green space.

“They’re not giving the park the priority it deserves,” the 55-year-old, of Dangan Road, Wanstead, said.

“It’s being neglected. The water is leaking out of the lake creating the mud. It’s affecting a lot of the ponds.”

Paul claims the City of London promised it would act a year ago, but nothing has been done.

He added: “Why has it taken them so long to do anything?”

A spokesman from the City of London, which also runs Epping Forest, said: “Water levels at Heronry Pond have returned to normal following works to repair two concrete panels on the pond’s dam.

“However, the Ornamental Water pond receives water directly from the Perch Pond as part of a cascade system.

“We are fighting Floating Pennywort, an invasive aquatic plant that can harm water bodies and damage habitats, native plants, fish and insects at Perch Pond. To prevent it spreading we have had to temporarily stop the flow of water from Perch Pond to Ornamental Water.”

He added: “We are working with hydrologists to identify long term solutions to the issue. In the short term we’re looking at ways of diverting water to the Ornamental Water lake, bypassing the Perch pond altogether.”

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