Nature reserve to close for bank repairs

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AN important restoration project gets under way this month to safeguard part of the beautiful Lattersey nature reserve in Whittlesey.

Repairs are needed on a 100-metre bank that has been worn away over time. The work means that the southern section of the reserve will have to be closed for two weeks from October 17.

The reserve should re-open at the end of October.

The reserve is owned by Fenland District Council and managed by the Wildlife Trust. Together they have decided that the restoration work is necessary both for health and safety reasons and to preserve the reserve’s natural beauty.

The bank forms the eastern boundary of an old landfill site that is now a grazing field adjoining the reserve. The bank has been eroded by the activities of rabbits and general wear and tear.

As a result the clay cap on top of the bank has thinned and in some places previously landfilled waste has become exposed. 

The exposure of the waste can pose several problems, including an increase in littering and some potential effects on the safety of people using the site, although the risks of that are seen as minimal.

Work will begin on October 17 to remove any exposed waste and seal the bank with a mesh and soil cap compacted along the side. A geomembrane will also be placed along the thinned edge of the bank. This is a special layer, like the mesh, designed to keep waste in and stop the rabbits burrowing through.

Councillor Peter Murphy, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for the environment, said: “Lattersey is a wonderful spot which is enjoyed by many local people for its peace and quiet, its wildlife and its lovely walks.

“We have a duty to prevent any possible risk to health or safety that could result from part of an old landfill site becoming exposed. This work will achieve that, as well as safeguarding the path that runs alongside the bank. It will help to maintain the reserve in the best possible condition and make it even more attractive for everyone who uses it.”