Loss of Cannop Ponds would be a ‘travesty’

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The loss of ponds at a Forest of Dean beauty spot would be a “travesty”, said a councillor amid uncertainty over their future.

Forestry England is gathering information on Cannop Ponds after engineering issues were found with 200-year-old dams at the site.

It says the ponds may have to be drained to prevent flooding downstream.

But the district council has called for the dams to be repaired and the ponds to be retained in their current state.

The dams are not in imminent danger of collapse but ongoing deterioration and their inability to cope with a one-in-a-150-year storm event are a serious concern, says Forestry England.

‘Absolutely devastating’

A Forest of Dean district councillor said doing away with Cannop Ponds would be “absolutely devastating” and that they should be preserved.

Jamie Elsmore added: “People come from far and wide to view the Forest.

“You’ve seen the beautiful pictures of the ponds over the many seasons and to lose that would be a travesty.

“What we already have is priceless and to lose that would be absolutely devastating for the area.”

Forestry England said no decision had been made but the engineering issues needed addressing, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

“Forestry England are continuing to gather information… to better understand, and shape, the range of options – from replace to remove the dams – so that a decision on the way forward can be taken in early 2023,” the group said in a statement.

“That decision will be influenced by the need to improve storm water attenuation in the valley to reduce the risk and severity of flooding; the need to protect wildlife and enhance the biodiversity values of the forest; and our desire to improve the connections between people and the wildlife and heritage of the Cannop valley.”

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