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Environmental and Antisocial Behaviour Concerns at the Common Pond Site

Council News & Services, Environment

Hailsham Common Pond in Bellbanks Road 

Hailsham Town Council is issuing information regarding the management of waterfowl at the Common Pond, as well as recent concerns expressed about the increase in antisocial behaviour at the site.

The rising number of resident geese at the pond site (in particular, Canadian Geese), has become a problem in recent months with residents stating that as a direct result, there is too much goose faeces on the surrounding footpath. The Town Council’s Assets Management Committee had been advised of the risk to public health resulting from the extensive amount of bird droppings from the unsustainable numbers of geese contaminating the water and other areas of the Common Pond site.

Across the country, unnatural numbers of waterfowl droppings caused by the decomposition of bread/artificial food and overcrowding of waterfowl can result in water-quality problems such as summer algal blooms and Avian Botulisum. Add to that, where geese, ducks and other waterfowl congregate to feed, E-coli counts can rise considerably to levels that make the water unsafe.

In response to this, the Town Council’s aim is to now strike a balance between people who enjoy spending time at the Common Pond and the wildlife present at the site. For this reason, several measures are being introduced which should help achieve this goal, including an awareness-raising campaign to dissuade members of the public from feeding the geese and ducks. This will include the erection in the coming weeks of signs at the pond advising people of this.

“The first thing we’re are doing to help tackle the problem is asking people please to not feed the birds and to keep our wildlife ‘wild’,” said Town Clerk, John Harrison. “We’re asking residents to help make the Common Pond site cleaner and safer by being responsible when it comes to feeding waterfowl at the site.”

“We appreciate that feeding birds is a normal thing to do and people mean absolutely no harm by it. However, we kindly ask residents to not be tempted and to seriously think about the problems that it can cause to local wildlife and environmental quality.

Pond Warden, Phil Hobden commented: “Feeding the ducks is a pastime that has been enjoyed by many people and for generations. Nevertheless, it is actually making the ducks and geese poorly and affecting local environmental quality as a result. Artificial feeding can be harmful to waterfowl, resulting in poor nutrition, overcrowding, increased hybridisation, delayed migration and spread of disease, as well as costly management efforts, severe water pollution and other cumulative effects.”

“I would ask everyone to respect our advice not to feed waterfowl at the Common Pond, so we can all enjoy this public green space which is so often referred to as Hailsham’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’.”

In recent days, concerns have also been expressed about the increase in antisocial behaviour at the Common Pond site. The Town Council is working with the local police following reports of people fishing at the pond (which is not allowed) and reports of deliberate injury to local wildlife.

Mr Hobden added: “During routine checks and recent monitoring of the pond, I’ve noticed that groups of people have been seen fishing, despite not being permitted to do so. I strongly encourage people not to misuse the local beauty spot, and any antisocial behaviour or injury to wildlife will be reported to the police immediately.”

Anyone who witnesses antisocial behaviour at the Common Pond should report it to the police immediately by calling 101.

Enquiries relating to this media release

Terry Hall, Communications Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
Telephone: 01323 841702 | Email: