To receive the report of the Park Ranger/Biodiversity Officer.
The Committee received and considered the report of the Biodiversity Officer.
Members discussed the current impact of the River Windrush and Colwell Brook overtopping their banks during flood events and how this might be prevented to maintain good water quality at Witney Lake. There was the possibility of working with the Environmental Agency (EA) to help alleviate the problem with improved bank maintenance and potential bunds, but this bore significant costs and EA approval was not guaranteed. Further discussion took place on the wider issue of managing the watercourse over the Council’s meadows, neighbouring sites and on contributing to a District Council proposal on how to gain more local autonomy over bank maintenance, with agreement this would be beneficial.
The Committee agreed to the recommendations contained in the report and asked that the Biodiversity Officer prioritised the watercourse stretches requiring the most urgent attention and make an enquiry to the Environment Agency to ascertain the level of response. Further stretches could then be included in the facility’s land management plan and budgeted for accordingly.
1. That, the report be noted and,
2. That, any tree works are to be carried out by the Ranger, the works team and if needed, the Council’s preferred tree contractor Town & Country Trees and,
3. That no bank work is to be carried out without exploring the full costs beforehand and,
4. That, the Council reinstates and strengthen the pathway around the lake using binding ballast and,
5. That, the water in the lake be tested to clarify its status and,
6. That, the Biodiversity Officer prioritises the stretches of watercourse banks and enquires to the Environment Agency about the most urgent and,
7. That, the Biodiversity Officer contacts West Oxfordshire District Council regarding the issues of bank works along the watercourse and the difficulty in resolving them.