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Weybridge 24 hour moorings improvements

The moorings works are part of the 'Thames Gate-Wey project', which is a Weybridge Society promoted environmental improvement scheme.

Here is a quote from the project description (read more on the Weybridge Society websiteExternal Link)

Weybridge is sited at the confluence of the River Thames and the River Wey, and the waterspace is a very well used recreational area, with 2 rowing clubs, a canoe club, a sailing club, and motor boat club.

It also provides moorings for visiting boaters. On the landward side there is the Thames long-distance footpath; the Sustrans cross-country cyclepath; and there is a ferry across to Shepperton.

It was felt for some time that the riverside was not realising its full potential. There are substandard facilities for some of the recreational users, and a poor welcome for visiting boaters. To encourage the riverbank owners, who are mostly public bodies, into improving matters the Society drew up an environmental scheme which has achieved some success to date.

The carpark along Walton Lane and its open space has been improved by Elmbridge Borough Council with views opened up to the river and a nice picnic area created.

The improvement of the towpath and boat moorings by the Environment Agency is planned for 2010

 

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Weybridge moorings works - removal of trees - ARCHIVE

Weybridge riverbank - removal of mature trees has concerned many residents
Removal of mature trees has concerned many residents

The Environment Agency has consulted with local groups during 2009 over proposed improvements to the moorings on the Thames at Weybridge. The improved facilities will be welcome, but there are concerns about the loss of mature trees. New planting is promised.

Your Elmbridge Councillors and people from local community groups pressed the EA for the retention of mature trees, and stressed the importance of riverside trees in the local landscape. At one meeting, Cllr Miles Macleod asked for a tree-by-tree explanation of why particular trees could not be retained, and the senior EA officer walked along the riverbank and set out the reasons for removing each tree (self seeded, not a native species, too close to the riverbank, signs of disease, etc). 

We thought some trees would be saved when it was found that they were a habitat for bats - in particular a prominent ash tree and a horse chestnut (pictured). However, they were felled.

The riverside land is owned by the Environment Agency, and in essence they can carry out any works which they see as being necessary and in line with regulations. The letter below explains why the Environment Agency considered it necessary to remove the trees.

A letter from The Environment Agency:

Environment Agency
Thomas Howard
Project Manager
Our Ref: IMTH001364/1.1

10th September 2009

Dear Councillor Macleod,

RE: WEYBRIDGE 24-HOUR MOORING IMPROVEMENTS

I'd like to update you on the project we are planning to improve the overnight moorings along the River Thames in Weybridge, which extend from the Weybridge Ladies Amateur Rowing club to the beach area near the pedestrian ferry steps. The work will increase the safety and ease of access to the existing moorings, and improve the appearance of the moorings and the tow path. We hope to complete this work in the summer of 2010.

As part of his project, we have surveyed the trees along the tow path from the Thames Street car park, to the bridge to D'Oyly Carte Island. We found that the majority of the trees in this area are self-seeded and their roots will damage the river bank if they continue to grow. Some trees are growing from the river edge and overhang the centre of the river. Our survey also identified some trees that are weak or have dead branches and will deteriorate further with time. These trees pose a safety risk to people using the tow path.

To reduce the safety risk to tow path users, prevent further damage to the river bank and to allow construction of the improved moorings, we will be removing some trees along the tow path in October 2009. We will not remove healthy trees that do not affect the river bank or the moorings.

We will be planting new trees along the tow path as part of the project. These trees and other plants will reinstate the continuous planting along the tow path to improve its appearance, and provide an improved habitat for local wildlife.

The work may require a temporary diversion of the Thames Path. However, the pedestrian ferry and other access points across the tow path should be unaffected.

If you have any queries regarding this work then please contact me using the details provided at the end of this letter.

Yours sincerely

Thomas Howard

The Environment Agency
Swift House, Frimley Business Park> Camberley, Surrey, GU16 7SQ

Tel: 01276 454 450
Fax: 01276 454 301