Calls to clean up 'litter-filled' Welsh Harp reservoir

Welsh Harp reservoir

Welsh Harp reservoir - Credit: Google

Barnet Council has been called on to help clean up the Welsh Harp reservoir and conservation area.

Cllr Anne Clarke, Labour’s assembly member for Barnet and Camden, and a Childs Hill councillor, said the state of the reservoir was a “disgrace” and had been allowed to become “dirty, litter-filled and polluted” by “successive failures”.

She has written to the council’s chief executive urging the authority to prioritise improvements to the River Brent, which flows into the reservoir, warning they are being held up by delays to the expansion of Brent Cross shopping centre.

Ms Clarke said: “The state of the Welsh Harp is a disgrace, and it has been allowed to become dirty, litter filled and polluted by successive failures. Barnet Council’s Conservative administration voted against plans drawn up by the Labour group to clean it up and employ a specialist officer.

“I have written to the chief executive of Barnet Council, as I think they are missing a few notes in not prioritising the improvements to the waterways and tying them only to the long-delayed expansion to the shopping centre.

“If the council is serious about cleaning up the Welsh Harp, it will make sure that these works are undertaken.”

The Welsh Harp – also known as Brent Reservoir – is a site of special scientific interest and supports a wide range of wetland birds and plants.

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Barnet Council is one of the organisations involved in the management of the reservoir, which is owned by the Canal and River Trust.

A Barnet Council spokesman said it is working with partner organisations to develop a long-term vision to ensure the reservoir is maintained to a high standard.

The spokesman added: “We are also continuing to actively work with all these stakeholders to tackle issues such as litter, with clearance works in some key areas and providing support for community action days.

“The Brent Cross Cricklewood programme is also always looking for opportunities to improve the area and support community groups and projects, with initiatives like the Brent Cross Town Communities Fund."

Environment committee chairman of the Conservative Group Cllr Dean Cohen said he welcomed Cllr Clarke's interest and support.

He said: “While Cllr Clarke talks, action has been taken and will continue to be taken.

"By January 2020, funding had already been secured to ensure that a formal plan to improve and clean up the Welsh Harp could be developed.

“Although we do not control the waterways themselves, we are proud to have helped form the Welsh Harp team to support those who do, in making the vital improvements that the area needs.”