If You Go Down To Mellings Wood Today...
Mellings Wood in Preston
...you're sure of a big surprise...
We know that United Utilities are constructing a new sewerage pipeline to replace the stretch running above ground alongside the River Ribble at Mellings Wood in Preston – a pipe that has been leaking raw sewage into the river for some time now and is at risk of complete failure, potentially resulting in a nasty pollution incident in the Ribble.
Replacing this pipe is therefore welcome news.
sewage leaking into the River Ribble from the damaged pipe at Mellings Wood
Unfortunately, the cheapest option (in economic terms) has been to build the new pipeline through Mellings Wood, part of the Ribble corridor's ancient woodland and identified as a county Biological Heritage Site. This is the option that Lancashire County Council has approved and work is now underway.
The River Ribble's ancient woodlands in summer
Mellings Wood is an ancient woodland - and damage to this important habitat must be restored...
the damage to Mellings Wood has increased in recent weeks...
County planning policy requires no net loss of biodiversity, so it will be interesting to see how the loss of complex woodland floral and faunal communities dependent on ancient soil structures that have developed over at least four hundred years and most likely much longer, will be replaced or their permanent loss compensated.
It will also be interesting to see how they reconstruct the riverbank here to ensure that riverside habitats are maintained.
We know that there are otters along the Ribble, as well as Sand Martin colonies, amongst numerous other riverbank species, and the Environment Agency, the Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust, and other organisations are keen to see the Ribble’s riverbanks restored and enhanced throughout the Ribble corridor, not least as a part of the Ribble Catchment Management Plan.
This will be a good opportunity then, to see how these enhancements are achieved.
Mellings Wood and the River Ribble's natural riverbanks in the winter before United Utilities' work on the sewage pipe got significantly underway.
The Ribble riverbanks at Mellings Wood.
We will keep an eye on developments, and are particularly interested to see how the damage to the ancient woodlands and the riverbanks will be restored.
Whilst the works take place, part of the Ribble Way in Preston - between the A59, near the ‘Tickled Trout’, and the A6, at the ‘Shaw’s Arms’ will be closed for up to a year. An alternative route for walkers, following footpaths on the south of the River Ribble, has been signposted and waymarked by the County Council’s Countryside Service.
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