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Nesting birds delay £3.5m scheme at East Farleigh Lock

Friday 19th May 2017


A PAIR of nesting grey wagtails have caused a flutter by delaying repair work at East Farleigh Lock for several weeks.

Work came to a halt on part of the £3.5million scheme after the birds built a nest and raised a family.

They have now left the site, but the completion date for the refurbishment, already delayed until the end of June, has been set back until July 21.

Wagtails can lay a second clutch of eggs and there were fears of even further delays if they started breeding again. But once the youngsters had fledged and flown the nest, the birds left the site.

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River Medway Boaters, posted on Facebook: “Despite the fact they can lay a second set of eggs this is not the case this time. The contractor has now been able to remove the nest. Work is officially going at full pace and we have information that the lock should open to navigation on July 21. There will be lots of remedial landscaping to be done and this will continue well after that date.”

The Environment Agency (EA) scheme was due to be finished by Easter but suffered a major setback when a structural problem was uncovered in a large section of wall behind a lock gate. The resulting three-month delay in the completion date was met with dismay from the boating community.

An EA spokesman said: “We understand the impacts of the delay to the re-opening of East Farleigh Lock is currently having on the boating community and apologise for the ongoing inconvenience.”