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Increased silt pollution ‘is killing pond life'

FLEET Pond is being poisoned by more silt pollution, a worried resident warns.

FLEET Pond is being poisoned by more silt pollution, a worried resident warns.

Dave Goddard fears the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire is facing further threat from work on Ministry of Defence land at Long Valley.

"The Gelvert Stream, which originates high up over Long Valley, has long been a carrier of sandy silt into the pond," said Mr Goddard, of Westover Road, Fleet.

"This silt is so dense that it has been filling up the pond to such an extent that all sub-aquatic water weeds and water lilies have vanished.

"Fish stocks have widely suffered from the pollution due to the lack of natural foods and the disappearance of aquatic water life.

"Snails, waterfleas and water beetles, once dominant at the water, are no longer to be found, while water birds long associated with the area have showed a marked decline."

Mr Goddard, who has lived by the pond for more than 40 years, said the problem was that two silt traps built to restrict sand movement from the Long Valley tank training area had not worked.

"Sand has filtered through to the lower reaches of the Gelvert Stream at an alarming rate," he said.

"Current problems have been made worse by recent work on the Long Valley area where TAG Aviation has been involved in funding a management plan for the MoD to clear land west of Farnborough Airfield.

"It would appear that TAG Aviation's principal concern is aircraft safety, and in this respect huge areas of trees over the Long Valley area have been felled, leaving just a minimum of very small bushes and low growing shrubs.

"The contractors acting for the MoD have undermined the subsoil to such an extent that infertile deposits have been exposed, adding fuel to the already alarming problem.

"Heavy rain over the loose, infertile excavated area will bring added havoc to the already heavily sand-polluted stream making its way to the pond.

"Fleet Pond Society, who have carried out sterling work on behalf of pond owners Hart Council, have been valiantly attempting to clear the sand pollution.

"A site has been agreed to deposit the silt if and when any dredging can be financed and arranged.

"I understand Hart Council has set aside funds to partly finance the dredging, but the MoD and TAG Aviation must also agree to finance this major project, including installing fully operational silt traps."

Mr Goddard added: "Fleet Pond, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, must be saved from this unnecessary destruction.

"The plant, fish and bird life are sadly under huge threat and many have already disappeared.

"If the MoD and TAG Aviation have concern for heathland restoration they must also give major concern for the conservation of Fleet Pond and agree to assist with financing a major project to revive one of the gems of Hampshire before it is lost to pollution forever."

At the time of going to press on April 10 comments from the MoD and TAG Aviation were unavailable.

Dave Goddard is pictured at Fleet Pond with a water sample he took a few days ago, and a photograph of an 8lb pike he caught there 30 years ago.


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