Anger as arsonists strike at reserve - The Evesham Observer

Anger as arsonists strike at reserve

Evesham Editorial 19th Jan, 2019   0

ARSONISTS have been slammed for destroying a pond dipping platform at Avon Meadows Community Wetland and Local Nature Reserve used by local schools and other groups.

The popular platform has brought visitors of all ages closer to wetland wildlife for a decade but was destroyed by a blaze which council chiefs believe was started deliberately.

Thanks to firefighters, the blaze was contained which prevented it from spreading further into the nearby reed beds, which would have been catastrophic for birds and insects that rely on the tall reeds for shelter and food over winter.

The dipping platform made of recycled plastic and was installed 10 years ago is now completely destroyed and will be in need of replacement at a cost to Wychavon District Council.

Liz Etheridge, Wildlife Sites Project Officer at Wychavon said: “We have had vandalism in the past, but this has only ever resulted in small patches of damage to the plastic structure so we can only assume that the fire was started deliberately.

“The volunteers from the Friends of Avon Meadows were quickly on the scene to survey the damage and help with the clear-up of the site, collecting the metal fixings that had melted out of the dipping platform as it burned, along with cans, glass and plastic bottles, crisp packets and other litter exposed by the fire.

“My thanks to them for their quick action which really helped us to protect the area as much as possible. During the clear-up, we found hundreds of burnt snail shells, hopefully many of these were old and not occupied, but unfortunately we did find the body of a frog that was unable to escape the blaze,” she added.

The remaining charred stumps of the dipping platform supports will be removed and contractors will scrape away the coating of melted plastic that has formed over the bank of the pool in the next few weeks.

Then Wychavon will look to install a replacement structure before spring so local schools continue to have somewhere to learn about the wildlife that lives on their doorstep.

Avon Meadows Community Wetlands and Local Nature Reserve was created after the devastating floods in 2007 to help reduce the impact of any future floods that come from too much surface water. The wetlands is now home to birds, waterfowl, fish, kingfishers, butterflies, otters and more.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 101.


Advertise with the Evesham Observer to reach your audience

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Evesham Observer newspaper.


Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.


Find a career you'll love with our free career finder website.