Below are questions raised by the Friends of Ruislip Lido with answers from Hillingdon Council.
Q. Why did the council ask for advice from the wildlife trust and what was the question? As this would affect what advice was given, for instance “what can the council do to stop bird droppings affecting the water quality in this area as they want to bring in swimming” would get a very different answer to what can the council do to protect wildlife and encourage breeding.
A.The council asked the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust for advice on formalising bird feeding and moving the main concentrations away from potential bathing areas.
Q.Why are we trying to control the amount of feeding, it would almost appear that the council are trying to reduce the number of birds on the Lido, is this the plan, if so why?
A. Currently the main feeding is with bread which is both bad for birds, water quality and can attract vermin. We are not planning to reduce the number of birds at the Lido.
Q.The fence has been placed right across the slip, surely this is a health and safety issue, this is the main access to the water on that side, we have had sad events at the Lido in the past two years where access has been needed to emergency services has this been considered at all? Especially as we come up to the summer if they need to get a boat into the water fast, where are you expecting the police or LFB to do this? And are they aware of the new point of access?
A.There is a slipway at Willow Lawn which is as accessible
Q.Was coming up to nesting time the right time to do this? Was that really the advice from the trust? Or where they not asked when this should have been done.
A. Birds do not nest in the area which is fenced and never have.
Q.The birds have moved round todays Willow Lawn and the people are going there to feed the birds. The effect is more interaction between birds and dogs, more bird dirt on Willow Lawn. When the picnics start and people leave all of their rubbish, more swans will be affected by plastic bags and rubbish. Are we then going to fence this area off as well?
Q.The birds do appear to get too much bread. May I suggest the new woodlands centre assists with education in this are and even considers selling bird seed. Also there are many, including our society who do feed the birds correctly when they need it in the harsh winter, I take it we are now carrying the 20kg bags to Willow Lawn?
A.The feeding of the birds during the later part of this winter took place on Willow Lawn. It is proposed that the new woodland centre and Railway Station at Willow Lawn will have grain for sale. Interpretation boards on the effects of bird feeding will also be installed.
Q. Has anyone considered that Swans need water to tack flight in case of a dog attack and by promoting feeding on Willow Lawn the swans can become trapped if a dog does attack them or they get frightened by children, or vehicles all of which have access to Willow Lawn.
A. Yes, the advice we have received is from the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust following their visit to site.