River weed forces postponement of Tacklefest and regatta
SCORCHING temperatures have sent weeds spiralling out of control on the city’s waterways – leading to two major events being cancelled or postponed.
Hot weather has led to weed growing at an alarming rate in the River Nene and the city’s rowing lake forcing organisers of the Tacklefest show to postpone the event and a junior regatta to be called off.
SCORCHING temperatures have led to weeds taking over the city’s waterways - prompting two major events to be cancelled or postponed.
Hot weather mixed with a long dry spell has led to ideal conditions for water weeds, which have been growing at an alarming rate and choking the River Nene, along with the city’s rowing lakes.
Excessive weed at Thorpe Meadow’s rowing lake led to the cancellation of Peterborough City Rowing Club’s junior regatta last weekend, after fears the weed would hinder competition and pose a safety risk to young rowers.
And the annual Tacklefest show and competition has also had to be pushed back from July to September 11 and 12, as organisers could not guarantee the River Nene would be weed free in time for thousands of fishing enthusiasts to arrive at the Embankment. Last year’s event drew 8,000 angling fans.
The Environment Agency, which is responsible for the UK’s waterways, are battling to take back the river by using specialist weed cutter boats to remove the troublesome plants.
A spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the weeds and they have been quite bad due to the lack of rainfall, but we are aiming to have the majority of it cleared up by the end of next week.”
Press officer for the Peterborough City Rowing Club, Ericha Knowles, said they had managed to hold their senior regatta at the beginning of June but their cutting boats had struggled to contain the weed growth in the weeks before the junior regatta.
They took the tough decision to cancel the popular event and say they cannot reschedule, as their events calendar is planned so far in advance.
She said: “Even if we cut the weeds, they could float to the surface and get stuck in rudders and blades, which could lead to capsizing.
“If we didn’t cut them it could make the race unfair, with some of the lanes at a disadvantage.
“Hopefully we can manage to clear them in time for our next major event in August.”
People are being warned not to stray too close the edge of the River Nene and rowing lakes, as the weeds mask where the ground ends.
The Environment Agency spokeswoman said “We would urge people not to go to close to the edge and just be wary as the weeds can mask where the earth stops and the water starts.”
Another weed – floating benthos – has also caused problems, after its brown colour led members of the public to fear there had been a sewage leak in the Nene.
The spokeswoman added: “We have also had to bring in another type of cutter to get rid of the benthos as this sits on the bottom of the river bed, then floats up to the surface.
“It doesn’t look very attractive and, when there was an unpleasant smell near the river, we got a lot of calls.”
PROBLEM: Workers remove weed which is choking up the River Nene, following the hot weather. (METP-29-06-10RH111)