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Tom Rudd Beck at Cockermouth: update

Following the activity regarding the appearance of the water at Tom Rudd Beck in Cockermouth on Wednesday 15 August 2018, Ian Storey, Managing Director for Cumbria & Scotland at Story Homes has shared the following update:

“Last Wednesday Story Homes conducted works at Tom Rudd Beck which temporarily altered the appearance of the water in the beck. These works were completed with a permit from the Environment Agency and involved removing a storm damaged stone footbridge and inserting a high voltage cable under the beck. The river was dammed and a planned fish rescue by PBA Applied Ecology Ltd was undertaken, with various fish carefully caught and safely returned to the river. The works were carried out as quickly as possible to mitigate the impact on the environment.

The removal of the stone footbridge temporarily disturbed the silt from the riverbed and as water travelled downstream, its appearance became murky or cloudy rather than transparent. The water returned to its usual appearance less than 24 hours following the works. To confirm, the cloudy water was a result of the disruption of silt from the riverbed – not run off from plaster, cement or any other building material.

Story Homes is a responsible housbuilder and we always endeavour to protect the wildlife in and around the areas in which we build. Since the completion of the works, the Environment Agency has visited the site and we continue to work with them closely regarding Tom Rudd Beck.

Pertinent to ecology interests, our planning proposals include for a new Blue Corridor. The Blue Corridor is an extensive ecological area that shall separate the intended two main build phases of development – this includes new wetland scrapes, ponds, wet and dry land planting and river revetment restoration works. These shall be for the benefit of otters as well as other species.   Story Homes has committed to the ongoing ecological monitoring of this site to ensure that protection of the otters is maintained.

More specifically and beyond approved plans, Story Homes has committed to providing a new artificial otter habitat post completion of works in the blue corridor so as to further encourage otter use of what should be a far improved ecological site. We see this as an excellent opportunity to encourage the protected species to the site and will create an attractive and diverse environment for the benefit of new and existing residents to enjoy while making use of new leisure walks.

Story Homes continues to maintain an ongoing ecological watching brief by our chartered ecologists as part of our site based Operational Environmental Management Plan. Checks are made prior to approved works within the Blue Corridor to ensure that disturbance to protected species does not occur.”

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