Work starts to improve safety at Newbold Quarry Nature Reserve
SPECIALIST contractors have started work at Newbold Quarry Nature Reserve to introduce new safety measures.
Rugby Borough Council, which manages the nature reserve in partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, has appointed Land & Water Services to carry out the work in a bid to combat anti-social behaviour at the site.
The work includes the removal of the reserve's fishing platform and the introduction of fencing to stop visitors swimming in the quarry.
Reed beds planted on exposed water shelves on the quarry's edge aim to create a natural barrier to entering the water.
The council took over the site 30 years ago after the former limestone quarry had stood derelict since 1927. Flooded by natural springs, the quarry lake reaches depths of 70 feet, while the nature reserve has become home to a host of rare wildlife, including white clawed crayfish, the great crested grebe and breeding toads.
But in recent years concerns have been raised about increasing incidents of anti-social behaviour at the reserve, including visitors holding barbecues on the wooden fishing platform, drinking alcohol and swimming in the treacherous waters.
The council introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) covering the site in 2019, which aimed to crack down on anti-social behaviour and protect the reserve's wildlife habitats.
However, rising water levels in recent years have led to a rapid deterioration of the wooden fishing platform, forcing the council to take further action.
Cllr Howard Roberts, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, said: "Working with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the council has made great efforts to increase accessibility to Newbold Quarry, creating pathways suitable for wheelchairs, viewing platforms and picnic areas.
"We've always been aware of the need to balance accessibility with safety, and in recent years a number of visitors have ignored by-laws, safety signage and the new PSPO, putting lives at risk.
"Both Warwickshire Police and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service have welcomed our decision to introduce these new safety measures, which aim to ensure the public can still enjoy visiting the nature reserve while reducing the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour."
The work at Newbold Quarry Nature Reserve looks set to be completed next month.