The Appleby Horse Fair Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) has this morning (8 June, 2019) taken the decision to close the ramp access to the River Eden on public safety grounds.
The rivers levels in Appleby are monitored constantly throughout Appleby Horse Fair.
Following heavy rain on Friday night into Saturday, the river levels were found to have risen above 0.5m.
The MASCG would also like to strongly advise people not to enter the water for the safety of themselves and their animals.
This decision was reached based on the following assessment factors:
- The height (depth) of the water
- The speed the water is travelling
- How unclear the water is
- The temperature of the water
- The condition of the river bed
The primary factors in reaching the decision to close the ramp access were the depth of the water, how quickly the river is running and the poor visibility of the water beneath the surface, with the potential for unseen debris under the surface.
Chair of the MASCG, Matthew Neal, Director of Corporate Services at Eden District Council, said: “The top priority of every agency which sits as part of the MASCG is always public safety and the preservation of life.
“Any time any person or animal enters the river there is risk involved. However, now the river levels have risen above the 0.5m level, the different agencies have taken action to keep people and animals safe.
“We urge people to heed this warning and stay out of the River Eden on the advice of the MASCG agencies. This advice also applies to other access points within the Appleby area, including Jubilee Ford ”
The river levels are under regular review and if they do fall back to a safer level, the MASCG may take the decision to reopen the access ramp. However, the current forecast is this is highly unlikely to occur today (Saturday).
There is also the potential for the river levels to remain above 0.5m into Sunday. However, the river levels are being regularly monitored and any changes to the status of the ramp access will be communicated.
The RSPCA is urging people to heed the advice and to not to take horses into the river as it is currently unsafe for people or animals.
Chief Inspector Rob Melloy said: “If anyone takes or attempts to take an animal into the water they may be committing an offence under the Animal Welfare Act.
“Action may be taken by ourselves alongside the police.”