Save The Ribble

A blog dedicated to preserving the beauty and delicate ecosystem of the River Ribble, and opposing the Riverworks 'vision' to build a barrage on our River and develop on our riverbanks, floodplains and green spaces, causing damage to wildlife and the environment and increasing the risk of flooding to our homes. Save the Ribble Campaign is not responsible for the content of external blogs or websites which link here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Great Wall of Preston: Dock's Vision Muddying the Water?



The Lancashire Evening Post report today that one of the proposals being considered by Preston Council for the Riverworks Quayside Docks development is a huge wall dividing the Dock basin into two sections from top to bottom through the entire depth of the 20-30ft deep basin which, it is suggested, they hope could potentially solve the blue-green algae problem...

Apparently by mixing contaminated silts from the bottom of the dock basin with cement to construct this dividing wall, and then, according to Council Leader Ken Hudson, "lifting all the silt from one side of the dock and setting it at the back of the wall so you fill the dock with its own sludge", it is hoped that the water quality on the non-sludged side of the wall would be of 'bathing quality' and therefore water sports could take place on that section of the dock basin.

What exactly this will mean for the sludge-filled side, and the visual and olfactory results of having one half of the dock basin back-filled with sludge isn't clear...

- Not to mention what relationship this has with the associated idea of building floating homes not only on the Docks basin but alongside the Ribble itself - destroying the biodiversity of sections of the Ribble corridor and the effectiveness of areas of floodplain which are essential for protecting already-existing communities and a no-go area for new development, according to the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment to which all Councils and developers are now bound...

These ideas for the Dock basin wall are clearly ideas only at this stage, forming "one of several options being considered in a feasibility study on Preston Council's Quayside Project", as there would need to be a detailed assessment of the economic and environmental costs of such a procedure, not to mention the huge reduction in the navigable area of the Dock basin (- one of the largest single dock basins in Europe we believe - at the moment anyway!), and the scheme is intended to include the floating homes idea which has been raised before - presumably on the sludgy half?!

... all of which leaves us wondering:

- why the blue-green algae would suddenly choose to occupy only one half of the Dock basin when silts themselves aren't the sole cause of the problem, lack of oxygen caused by standing water is;

- what options are being considered which would protect the current size of the basin and oxygenate the water to discourage blue-green algae in the first place, and therefore make the whole dock basin a useable - and fantastic - water-sports facility (- it's a shame to make it so much smaller!);

- why redeveloping the docks appears to mean losing so much of its space and therefore its potential by building floating homes instead of pursuing options which keep it a public domain, and retain that vast open space, AND solve the algae problem;

- how such a huge structure as this "mudcrete" wall would be can be an asset rather than an eyesore;

- how the silted-up half of the basin will look and smell!

- What these proposals will mean for the associated ideas for developing the Ribble corridor - presumably the Preston side anyway as South Ribble Borough Council have pledged to protect the Ribble banks and Green Belt areas from development.

You can contact us at savetheribble@tiscali.co.uk

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