Consulting on ways to make the Riverside work for us all



.To ensure everyone from wildfowl to members of the public can enjoy Ely’s Riverside, a consultation is set to take place looking a ways to improve the area.

Every year, East Cambridgeshire District Council receives a number of complaints from residents and visitors regarding the fouling of the footpaths around the Riverside.

Over the years, a number of initiatives have been explored to try to reduce the problem from creating a specific duck feeding area to oiling Muscovy duck eggs to create a balanced wildfowl population.

Unfortunately these ideas have achieved limited success and last summer the population of Greylag’s and Canadian Geese increased. This meant the street cleaning contractors were constantly called to clean the area in response to complaints – increasing the cost of the service to the Council.

The local authority is now proposing a long term solution to the problem by developing an action plan, which will include:

*    Developing an education plan to explain the importance of improving the health of wildfowl such as providing the right food and not overfeeding them.
*    Creating an enclosed area on the slipway to the river to reduce the ability for wildfowl to foul on the footpaths
*    Design and create new signage posters and literature to explain what is happening on the riverside.

Councillor Richard Hobbs, Chairman of the Community and Environment Committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “For many years, the thorny subject of how to manage our duck population has been the subject of much debate in Ely and the wider world. Many ideas have been explored over the last few years but have not provided a solution to meet the needs of all parties. This is why over the last few months, we have been working with local groups to develop a long term plan which we want to test with the public.

“The plan attempts to tackle two key issues – changing the way we feed our local wildfowl and reduce the access the birds have to the footpaths. This is why we are looking at an education campaign to help people understand the right types of food to give to ducks and gating off the slipway by the river to reduce the ability of the wildfowl to come onto the path.  Before we go ahead with any part of this plan, we want to hear back from the public to see what they think through a consultation which will be published later this year. So please get involved and to help us strike a balance between the needs of nature and the public on our wonderful riverside.”

The work will form part of a wider consultation on Ely’s Riverside which will begin later this year and a report on the Riverside Improvement Plan will be brought to the Community & Environment Committee in September 2013.

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