The continuing problem of silt slowly filling up Fleet Pond may be at least partially solved next year.

The Ministry of Defence has agreed to the need for an additional trap to stop the yellow silt washing down from Army training areas.

They have also designated an area for dumping the silt once it is dredged up out of the 35 acre pond - Hampshire's largest freshwater lake.

Peter Martin, a founder of the pond society, said that the dredging will cost between £1 - £1 ½ million.

He said it cannot be done all at once, but will be in stages.

This is because the immense amount of silt to be dredged would create a dangerous area if it was all dumped at once.

He added that there was no point in starting to dredge until the silt flow was stopped. As it is now, he said that after a heavy rain, the Gelvert Stream which feeds the pond always turns yellow with silt. Normally the water is clear.

Pond society members have spent thousands of hours over 26 years turning the nature reserve into an accessible place of beauty and a great asset to the area. They issue four newsletters a year, organise talks and events and hold regular conservation sessions on the second Sunday of each month from September to June.

To join or subscribe to the newsletter (£4 a year) ring Peter and Barbara Martin on 01252 684828. Corporate memberships cost £25.