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Published on June 11th, 2015 | by Steve Budden


Update from the Commons

I am happy to report that we have made some progress in dealing with the problem of blanketweed at Brighton Lake. Having spent some time talking to the Environment Agency and other experts, I think that this problem was probably caused by the release of a lot of extra nutrients into the water when we carried out de-silting work a couple of years ago This, combined with the rapid warming of the water and high light penetration that we experienced this spring created ideal conditions for the bloom. The expectation is that if we simply keep physically removing as much weed as possible, the problem will decline as the extra nutrients are consumed. It is necessary to remove as much of the weed as possible, as if left in place the decomposition process as it dies back would cause oxygen levels in the water to plummet. It is fortunate that blanketweed is not toxic like the blue green algaes, Brighton Lake is full of life at the moment, with the ducklings and goslings attracting their usual fan club of photographers.

We have finally been able to complete the drainage improvements over at Sunnyside Rd on Rusthall Common. The old pond there has been re-excavated and the spoil used to build up the bund behind the outflow to stop flooding during very heavy rain. We also installed a pierced liner under the soil to hold back water and create a little wetland area. This has just been seeded with pond edge plants like meadowsweet, hemp agrimony and marsh marigold. With a little luck it will look very nice this time next year and it will provide a valuable extra habitat in the area.

On the other side of Lower Green Rd, we are still having serious problems with waterlogging. The area in the centre of the grass is far too wet to mow and is causing us real difficulties. Water has been bubbling through the road surface at the crossroads for many years but the whole situation has worsened since last year’s attempt by Highways to resolve it. As part of that scheme it seems, they diverted the flow onto the Common, Happily, another attempt to solve the problem is imminent and hopefully this time it will succeed.

For some reason, we always seem to have problems during the Easter holidays and this year was no exception. The poor old Cricket Club had their pavilion vandalised again and branches were ripped down to feed large fires at Wellington Rocks. The worst aspect of this for us is the huge amount of broken glass from smashed bottles left behind, especially as the Rocks are such a magnet for small children and so many dogs are taken there first thing in the morning. We do our utmost to clear this as soon as possible but it really is a terrible problem. Although at slightly lower levels than at Easter, this behaviour continues throughout the Summer in spite of the area having been scheduled as an Alcohol Control Zone some years ago. In fairness to the Police,
the enforcement of this is very difficult, especially at night.

Steve Budden – Commons Warden

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