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Clapham Common carp return home

Dozens of carp will be reintroduced to Mount Pond on Clapham Common next week after almost eight months away.

The fish were carefully removed in March to allow work to start on a major £100,000 scheme which was designed to improve Mount Pond and for the benefit of both people and wildlife, and to enable the pond to be restored as a sustainable urban fishery.

While they have been away the pond has been de-silted and new reed beds introduced to improve water quality and habitat for fish, amphibians and insects, in a joint project funded by Lambeth Council and the Environment Agency.

Work is currently taking place to introduce extra fishing platforms, landscape the pond’s banks and improve the central island by thinning out trees, and with majority of improvements complete and the water quality improved; the fish can now be reintroduced. Experts will move the carp back on Tuesday 14 December from their temporary home 500 metres away in Long Pond on the Common. 800 young fish bred at the Environment Agency’s fish farm near Nottingham, including tench, roach and crucian carp, will also be brought down and introduced to Mount Pond on Monday 13 December.

The project began after dozens of carp died in the summer of 2008 due to poor water quality, and aims to improve and maintain fish populations at a level that allows for both good fishing and healthy, happy fish, as well as places for wildlife to seek refuge and breed in safety.

Mount Pond is one of the very few free fisheries available to anglers in South London, and part of the work is funded directly by income from rod licences issued to anglers.

Cllr Florence Nosegbe, Lambeth Council Cabinet member for Culture, said: “It’s great to see the fish being returned to Mount Pond after this work is done, and will make sure the pond remains a haven for lots of interesting wildlife including fish, amphibians, birds and insects, as well as somewhere visitors to the Common can enjoy to the full.”

Emma Barton, Fisheries Officer for the Environment Agency said: “This is an exciting end to a really important project. The return of the fish to the pond marks the opening of a greatly improved pond both for local people and for wildlife.”

The Mount Pond restoration scheme was funded with £55,000 from Lambeth Council, £26,000 from the Environment Agency through rod licences, and £20,000 from a planning agreement from the Clapham Common South Tesco development.

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