With the passing of the old year, and the start of another it seemed appropriate to celebrate New Years Day with a walk around all seven of our town centre parks. A hardy few turned up, despite the gloomy weather, to work off any results of the Christmas festivities and to enjoy the open spaces of our parks. On our walk we encountered only a few other park users, either walking their dogs or jogging. Otherwise we had the parks to ourselves. Some overflowing waste bins, and remains of spent fireworks on Martins Hill provided evidence of previous celebrations.
After walking through Church House Gardens we passed by the Mill Pond and the Ravensbourne feeding it, now back to its usual flow of water, a couple of visiting cormorants were sighted as well as two resident Egyptian geese who landed in nearby lake. Also spotted were a large number of golf balls isolated on the now bare mud bank. Occasionally passing members of the public have thought of these as small ‘eggs’! These have in fact floated downstream, probably from a local golf club or driving range.
After visiting several other parks, and finding them in ‘good order’, we finally arrived at Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre Grounds) where we initially had a setback when we discovered that the gates at the Rafford Way entrance were locked.
Undeterred by this we instead managed to gain access to the park via the main entrance, where the automatic doors opened as usual. Needless to say we had the site to ourselves. We visited the listed features including the Ice House and the Pulhamite Cascade which we are campaigning to be restored. We duly took a photo, in front of the listed former Palace building, to celebrate our visit.
We normally end our park walks with refreshments in the on site canteen. But as it was inevitably closed we decided to call it a day and make our ways home, wondering what opportunities and challenges our Friends group would encounter in 2020.
There continues to be pollution of the Mill Pond, in Glassmill Lane, Bromley. so the water has become cloudy khaki coloured in appearance. This has been reported and Thames Water have been tasked to investigate. There is some suggestion that this may be related to a burst water main in the Masons Hill area earlier today. We await any further news. The appearance has been made worse by the current very low flow rate on the River Ravensbourne due to the recent lack of rain. Any significant rain should eventually disperse this downstream and into the Thames.
There have been many previous pollution incidents here. These are often the result of incorrect waste connections in either domestic or business premises. Thames Water along with the Environment Agency are working to identify such incidents and identify the culprits.
Sadly an example of the misuse of a good new idea by a few anti-social people. Somebody has thrown an e-bike into the River Ravensbourne at the Mill Pond, in Glassmill Lane. This follows another e-bike that was dumped into the lake in Church House Gardens about the same time, but was later removed by the idVerde parks maintenance team.
The Lime e-bikes have been introduced into Bromley town centre about a week ago. Let us hope that such events do not sour this scheme.
These six Canada goslings have been spotted with their parents on the Mill Pond earlier today. A sign that spring really is here? The coots seem to be inquisitive but keeping a discrete distance. A couple of goslings survived to move into the main park last year. We await to see how many make it this time. More on Mill Pond campaign page………
Pollution on Mill Pond 29 July – photo by Kari Silvester
Kari Silvester and some other members continue to monitor pollution incidents on the Mill Pond, in Glassmill Lane. Many of these are due to mis-connections of waste water outlets in parts of the surrounding areas. Kari has been liaising with the Environment Agency (EA) on such incidents. The latter have identified this as a misconnections ‘hot spot’ and are working with Thames water to identify and eliminate them.
Kari has recently recede this brief EA report –
I just wanted to give you a brief update, my colleague and I were out in the Bromley area on Friday and, with the help of Thames Water, discovered a source of pollution to the Ravensbourne river near Bromley South station. Due to data protection I
cannot provide further details but as this location was upstream of Glassmill Pond you should hopefully see an improvement to the water quality there, although the Environment Agency and Thames Water still have a long way to go in locating all the sources of pollution leading to this point. It is good news nevertheless and please let us know if you have any questions.
If you spot any such incidents please telephone the Environment Agency on 0208 474 9439
Pollution on Mill Pond 29 July – photo by Kari Silvester
There was yet another pollution incident on the River Ravensbourne, at Mill Pond, Glassmill Lane on 29 July. This appeared to be sand, like an earlier incident, and which covered most of the pond surface. This was reported to the Environment Agency (ref: 1544086) by a Friends member. The long term environmental impact of this latest incident is currently uncertain.The pollution has subsequently been moving down stream. We await the result of this latest EA investigation.
Recently there have been an increased number of such incidents, some very serious. These incidents are the result of either unauthorised mis-connection of waste water outlets (e.g. sinks), or the illegal emptying of waste into local surface water drains or water courses. The Environmental Agency, working with Thames Water, consider this a pollution ‘hot spot’, and the Mill Pond is being closely monitored by local volunteers and reported to the EA. If you spot pollution in our local rivers please report to the Environment Agency on 0800 807060
Pollution measures on Mill Pond Photo by Kari Silvester
Early last Friday morning (31 March) a serious pollution incident was spotted on the Mill Pond, Glassmill Lane, Bromley BR1. This was immediately reported, by one of our members, to the Environment Agency. A large quantity of oil was covering the water and its margins.
Since then Thames Water contractors have been busy on site installing temporary booms to restrict the wider contamination of the River Ravensbourne, as well trying to remove the oil. To date at least one tanker full of oil has been sucked up. Unfortunately oil has also contaminated both the mud and the island. This will be extremely difficult to clean. The impact on the fish and other invertebrates in the water has yet to be determined. Already several nesting Moorhens have died as a result of this pollution, and the RSPCA are continuing to monitor the situation.
The Environment Agency and Thames Water investigation, of the cause of this pollution and identification of the culprit, is ongoing. For more on this area go to Mill Pond and Ravensbourne restoration
This historic Mill Pond is important both for its heritage and environmental features. It is an important nesting site for ducks and is also visited by grey herons, kingfishers, etc. Part of the River Ravensbourne catchment, we were already working with Thames21 and other stakeholders, to access grant funding to enhance this important space.
On Sunday 4th October Thames21 led the first working party of the autumn. Previously we were constrained by nesting birds. About ten volunteers cleared some undergrowth from paths and other key areas. Also the water level was temporarily lowered to increase water speed and so help to clear some silt around the weir. The next working party will take next month.
On Sunday 13th September several members, and local people, attended a site meeting to discuss comments made by various parties, including the Environment Agency, to the latest Thames21 plan for the restoration of this historic former mill pond, off Glassmill Lane, BR2.
Topics covered included pollution control, water flow & flood control, a revised weir, and biodiversity. Thames21 are aiming to finalise project proposals and estimated costs by year end. In the meantime working parties will be arranged to maintain and tidy up existing vegetation, etc pending the project implementation.