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BROADWATER LAKE: Ricky environmentalists oppose plans for new water sports centre

 Published on: 5th January 2024   |   By: Sophia Sheera   |   Category: Uncategorized

Friends of Stocker’s Lake (FoSL) in Rickmansworth are lending a hand to their fellow environmentalists by opposing a planning application to redevelop Broadwater Lake, which sits between Harefield and Denham.

Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre (HOAC) submitted a planning application to Three Rivers District Council to develop a new water sports centre at Broadwater last November. The proposal would update existing facilities as well as creating new fixed islands within the lake.

FoSL have joined forces with local wildlife charities, including the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, to oppose the application on environmental grounds.

A press release published by FoSL on December 10 reads: “If the development goes ahead, it will cause irreversible damage to the vital habitats and the wildlife of not only Broadwater Lake, but also the other lakes in the valley, including Stocker’s Lake. This is because the birds migrate between the lakes.”

Broadwater Lake is one of England’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Activists argue that the lake has been a hugely important refuge for birds and other wildlife for the last 40 years.

A spokesperson for FoSL said: “FoSL is also concerned that if approved, the development is highly likely to set a dangerous precedent that would weaken wildlife protection at other sites. Currently, only seven per cent of land in England has protected status, and much of that is under threat.”

Nigel Daley, the chair of FoSL’s committee, speaking on behalf of the charity’s 650-plus members, said: “HOAC’s plan increases the footprint of interference and stamps on mother nature herself. HOAC claim that their plan includes new refuge areas for birds, but they are insufficient and hugely underplay how significant the disturbance will be.”

Recognising the value of an educational water sports centre, FoSL does not oppose developments at other non-SSSI sites in the area.

A spokesperson for Hillingdon Council said: “We’re committed to creating a green and sustainable borough and our plans to provide a new water activities facility at Broadwater Lake completely align with this ambition.

“We have worked alongside Natural England, an expert ecologist and other key stakeholders to pull together plans that will enhance the site overall so that both people and nature can benefit.”

Photo Credit: Friends of Stocker’s Lake 

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