Letter to the Editor: Once more into the breach with colleagues, geologist, William Dreghorn; surveyor, Paul Morgan; Dean Forest Voice; commoners; and Brian Harding, concerning the Forestry proposal to close Cannop Ponds. 

Whereas the Forestry say the closure is necessary to halt flooding by draining, perhaps the real reason for their action lies with the presence of mounds of toxic tars and other chemicals from drums that were dumped in the bog alongside the old Wood Distillation Works. 

The site once manufactured wood acids and acetone which were used during World War One as munitions propellants such as cordite. 

The Cannop Valley, its stream and the bog are sustained by a bed of underlying clay midway between Speech House and Bixslade hillsides, forming a geological syncline. 

The road alongside the ponds continues to subside into the clay strata. 

Currently, contaminants are seeping into the bog and further south via streamlets into the top or third dam which is being filled with silt.

We have previously suggested channelling clean water from upstream to link back into the middle pond to maintain the status quo without closing the ponds. If the Forestry are not able to this themselves, then why not engage the public or Friends of Cannop Ponds group, much in the same way as other waterways are maintained?

This would leave the toxic area to be resolved by the Forestry and Environment Agency. 

The Forestry have already engaged consultants and I’m sure they will have little compunction about spending public money. 

However, please remember the lessons of the Northern Quarter which destroyed butterfly and moth colonies, amphibians, birdlife, heritage buildings and bat habitats and feeding grounds on a scale previously unknown in the UK as I can recall. 

We again request the Forestry to fence off the dangerous bog and erect signage warning of the dangers of contamination to humans and animals alike, and in the future, have the decency to answer emails and letters regarding people’s concerns.

Andrew Gardiner, Ruardean