Everything But the Girl singer launches bid to save Welsh Harp
- Credit: Ben Watt
North London singer-songwriter Ben Watt has launched an environmental pressure group to rescue the “too long neglected” Welsh Harp from an ecological crisis.
Outside of his work as a musician and as one half of Everything But the Girl, Ben Watt is an equally passionate environmental campaigner on the topic of the “unique” Brent reservoir.
The musician and his campaign group has identified six key areas to improve the reservoir: long-term plastic pollution removal, silt removal, improving the inflowing water quality, tree thinning, managing fly-tipping and ensuring adherence to legally binding SSSI protection.
“Unlike other London reservoirs, it is not a concrete pool. It is an ancient shallow flooded valley with natural blurred edges, with fragile rare plants, a huge variety of visiting birds, not to mention a long social history,” Watt told the Brent and Kilburn Times.
“We need to be inspired by a place like this, not dump mattresses in it, or fill it with toxic water and sediment,” he continued.
Watt has taken the campaign one step further this week and officially launched environmental pressure group Cool Oak, to signify his ongoing battle at the Site of Special Scientific Interest.
“After a year of campaigning, I simply wanted to put a flag in the ground and say we are not going away; to formalise the loose alliance into something visible, with a name, a website and social media presence,” said Watt.
Cool Oak takes its name from the country lane which cuts through the reservoir.
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The Welsh Harp campaign group has already made a significant positive impact on the reservoir, removing thousands of bags of rubbish, and encouraging the Canals and Rivers Trust to source £85k in funding for the east marsh. But there is still plenty of work to do.
One of Cool Oak’s biggest missions currently is to prevent the construction of a 186m footbridge in 2023, which threatens to cut through the top of the northern arm of the reservoir connecting Hendon Waterside to a planned sports hub on West Hendon playing fields.
For more information go to cooloakgroup.com