Friday, August 24, 2007

Officials aware of fears for lodes

Environment Agency officials are being made aware of the strength of opinion against plans to reduce water levels in Cambridgeshire's ancient lodes.

More than 800 pike anglers, walkers, boaters and conservationists have signed an online petition to save the inique waterways.

It was launched after leaked scoping papers showed consultants were looking at plans to lower levels in the lodes as one of a number of options to help creaste a new wetland at Wicken Fen, north of Cambridge.

Similar plans - which would have destroyed the lodes as fisheries - were defeated 30 years ago.
Today retired county councillor Geoffry Woolard, who fought to preserve the lodes in the late 1970s, received an e-mail from Graham Boakes - a project manager with consultants Halcrow, who are carrying out feasibility studies on behalf of the Environment Agency.

"I can confirm that we are aware of the E-Petition and the overwhelming opinion that the lodes should be maintained as they are at present," he writes.

"This has been taken account of in the first draft of the Strategy Report and Strategic Environmental Appraisal Report both of which will be issued to the Environment Agency today.

"These reports will be reviewed by the Environment Agency over the next few weeks and, following this, the final draft will be prepared to be used for consultation with statutory consultees and local interest groups, including Parish Councils."

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