SWAN activists and the St. George’s Trust hit back at the YMCA’s latest Balderton Lake ecology report


Activists say the YMCA’s latest ecology report and other data show more species than ever are using Balderton Lake.

SWAN has reported increased wildlife sightings, with a total of 53 bird species and 15 mammal species using the lake over the past eight months that it has been surveying.

The results have shown that the number of species using the site has increased in recent years. A comparison of the YMCA’s new ecological report to its first report in 2018 revealed a 157% increase in bird life.

SWAN activists fight YMCA plans to kayak on Balderton Lake.

Karen Callingham, SWAN activist, said: “There is no way the oars and movement of 18 kayaks, between three and six hours a day, six days a week, will not affect the birds building, managing or incubating their nests .

“They will either be inundated, destroyed or abandoned. Can the YMCA ensure this doesn’t happen?”

“Historically Balderton Lake was a landfill and it is extraordinary to see nature thriving in this way now. The lake and its wildlife are revered throughout Newark. This rare peaceful spot also promotes people’s spiritual well-being,” added Emma Oldham, Conservation Biologist.

“Due to the increasing use of the lake by wildlife and the alarming rate of green space being destroyed throughout the county, Balderton Council should protect, not endanger, this incredible local wildlife recreation.”

Balderton Lake has more wildlife than ever, activists say.
Balderton Lake has more wildlife than ever, activists say.

The St George’s Trust for Conservation has also raised concerns about the lake’s wildlife.

Despite being urged by activists and residents to update their 2018 environmental reports to assess the environmental impact of their plans to introduce kayaks at Balderton Lake, the YMCA’s new findings omit any consideration of bats.

The report states that suggestions are daytime and therefore do not affect foraging.

Group visits and surveys conducted by St George’s Trust in March, August and September detected bat calls from six bat species.

“We could clearly see aquatic bats aerobatic flying by at water level,” said Sara Chadd, director of the trust.

“It’s pretty obvious that Balderton Lake is her permanent home. Daubentons feed, mate, and subsist on still water. So any amount of daily and prolonged activity in the water at any time of the day could really bother them.”

The Trust is urging the YMCA and Balderton Parish Council to conduct a full professional bat survey.


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