Work has begun on revamping Harrington reservoir in Workington.
The work includes desilting, improving the flow of the water, re-configuration of the shoreline and new planting.
The project comes after three years of planning and fundraising by Allerdale Borough Council and Workington Town Council working together as the Workington Nature Partnership, with the support of the Friends of Harrington Nature Reserve.
Over the past ten years, the reservoir has been transformed by the rapid build-up of silt from its feeder stream, the Ellerbeck. Without this work being carried out there is a risk that the reservoir would silt up completely, resulting in the loss of this popular wildlife site and adding to the risk of flooding upstream.
As well as dealing with the siltation and flooding issues, the scheme is also designed to provide benefits for the reservoir’s wildlife and biodiversity and improve the area for the many visitors to this popular site.
Funding for the £182,000 project has been provided by Allerdale Borough Council, Workington Town Council, the WREN Community Fund, E.ON (via the Robin Rigg Community Fund) and the Tesco “Bags of Help” Scheme.
Michael Heaslip, Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive Member with responsibility for Locality and Environmental Quality said: “It is great to see this project get started after a lot of work from all those involved. This will greatly improve this valuable resource and secure it for future generations to enjoy.”
Maureen Dolan, Chair of the Friends of Harrington Nature Reserve, said: “We are delighted that the improvement project has begun. This will make our very special place even more enjoyable for the local community and more valuable for our resident wildlife.”
Denise Rollo, Chair of Workington Town Council’s Environment Committee added: “This is fantastic news and we are delighted to support the Friends of Harrington Nature Reserve and improve one of our nature gems in Workington. It has been a long time coming and I’m sure the community will be very supportive of this project.”
Raegan Blacker, Workington Nature Partnership Officer, said: “Myself and all our volunteers are so excited to finally see machinery onsite after so much planning! We can’t wait to watch the work unfold and are looking forward to seeing what wildlife moves in once all the new habitats are established. This project will ensure that Harrington Nature Reserve can continue to be a treasured green space for generations to come.”
Specialist contractors Land and Water Services Ltd have been appointed to carry out the work, which is scheduled to take eight weeks. The working area will be secure-fenced during the contract period and the main entrance (opposite St. Mary’s School) will be closed during the works. However footpaths on the reserve will be kept open where it is safe to do so.