Friday, 21 March 2008


Although, on the surface, little appears to have been happening with the bridge recently there has been a lot of behind the scenes preparation work going on. One problem has been that there are water and electrical services under the existing bridge which need to be moved before any other work can happen. The orders for the diversion work was put in place about six months ago. The water pipe was the first to be moved and, we believed, shortly to be followed by the diversion of the electrical cable. Unfortunately the original route proposed went through the area where Sleaford Town Council are going to build their new offices. When the electrical company were told of this they went away for a rethink, unfortunately this coincided with a change both of company and personnel, resulting in a long delay. The latest date we have been given for the new works is "sometime in March". One consequence of the delay has been that any construction work on the bridge will be into the nesting season for the water birds on the river. Not wanting to cause any disturbance to nesting birds we decided that the best course of action would be to take advice from experts. Accordingly we contacted the Environment Agency and also a firm of Ecological Consultants who specialise in river corridor work that the Trust used to carry out a variety of environmental studies commissioned in the past. Their advice was to deter any birds from nesting for a distance of 15 metres from the place where work would take place. One thing, though, was important and that was to put in place mitigation measures. This meant that if we took any nesting areas away we should create new ones. On Sunday 2nd March a small work party from the Trust gathered in Eastgate Car Park. The first task was to establish that no birds had laid eggs in the working area, to our relief this proved to be the case and we were clear to work. Fortunately the reeds were easily moved and, with the aid of a wheelbarrow, were moved about 100m downstream and replanted.