The massive civil engineering project, which will see more than 300,000 cubic metres of silt removed from our iconic Queen Pool lake, was originally due to take place this month.
However, due to the current restrictions in place due to COVID-19 and the significant global disruption, the project has been postponed.
While the dredging programme is deemed crucial to manage rising levels of silt, which have now reached a critical point, we have no alternative than to delay the project.
“As the impacts of COVID-19 on both our health and the economy began to show it became clear that, even if we had been in a position to proceed, there was simply no way the contractors could carry out the work safely,” said our Estates Director, Roy Cox.
“While it’s disappointing to press pause on such a major project saving the finest view, there are more pressing challenges in our society. We will, however, be carrying out some essential repairs to the cascade later in the Spring when you may see water levels dropped.
“At this stage we intend for this to be a short delay on the dredge and we know that, unless this work goes ahead, the lake is forecast to become a wetland in less than five years and this historic landscape will have been lost.
“We will use this period of time to scrutinise every aspect of the project looking for opportunities to further improve both funding streams and the delivery,” he added.
Experts still believe there is a three-to-five-year window within which action needs to be taken to prevent the waterway from drying up and becoming marshland.
The Queen Pool is an integral element of the Estate’s ‘Capability’ Brown-landscaped parkland and forms part of what Winston Churchill’s father described as the ‘finest view in England’.
The lake’s original water depth was over two metres; however today more than 70% of it is less than 30cm.