What is the Town Council doing to address the blue-green algae in Diss Mere?

The Town Council has tried and continues to try to alleviate the problem of blue-green algae in Diss Mere:

  1. The fountain works on a timer coming on at 8.30am – 10.30pm every day from 1st April to 30th October. This reduces in the Winter months. (Did you know?  It costs approx. £4k per year in electricity alone & an additional £3k to maintain the fountain)
  2. We measure oxygen levels in the Mere daily. If they drop beneath a certain level, the fountain is switched on 24/7
  1. Duck pellets are available to purchase from the Break charity shop on Mere Street opposite the Mere at 50p per 100g bag. This was a Town Council initiative to dissuade visitors from feeding bread to the ducks as it’s not food for them or the water
  1. In November 2017, a water quality management plan was undertaken by AGA Group. They concluded that there are a number of problems associated with the Mere that are contributing to its overall relatively poor condition as a sustainable aquatic habitat. These include run off from the surrounding catchment, the large waterfowl population, erosion and insufficient infrastructure. To overcome these problems, they recommended that we take a holistic approach and treat the cause instead of the symptom and identified possible recommendations to improve the health of the Mere. Given that half of the banks are owned privately, the degree of success will be impacted by our ability to gain the involvement of other stakeholders.
  1. If you’d like to find out more, please find the full plan here.   We have so far actioned the urgent / immediate recommendations. The other recommendations relating to tree management, lake infrastructure, silt, erosion & waterfowl will be considered as per the plan schedule (see page 56)
  1. One of the urgent recommendations is to purchase and install an ultrasonic unit to control the blue-green algae. This will be installed next week on the boardwalk. AGA Group recommended this as the best and most cost-effective method for the size of the Mere. Its ultrasonic technology has the ability to eliminate a significant proportion of existing algae and prevent new algae growth by transmitting ultrasound through the water body, which disrupts the cell vacuole of blue/green and filamentous algae. This kills the cell but the cell wall remains intact preventing the release of toxins from the algae into the water. The ultrasound used by the ultrasonic units is safe for fish, zooplankton and invertebrates because the voltage is low.
  1. We are budgeting to find a long-term solution to the Mere drain, which will enable a better flow of water from the Mere when levels rise
  1. We have a good relationship with the Diss & District Angling Club who own the fish stock and are a key stakeholder. We are meeting regularly with them to discuss the Mere.

Background info

  1. Diss Mere is owned by the Town Council but there are a number of key stakeholders also responsible for its proper management including surrounding landowners, the Diss & District Angling Club and everyone who visits it. If visitors can play their part in either not feeding the waterfowl or buying pellets instead of bread, put litter in the bins and report any issues directly to us, it will help us to maintain the Mere for everyone’s benefit.
  1. Diss Mere, as a 6-acre body of mostly still water, has suffered with blue-green algae outbreaks during summer months for hundreds of years so this is not a new phenomenon. Algae plays a fundamental role in the health of any body of water, but problems arise when blooms grow out of control or the wrong types of algae begin to grow. When dissolved oxygen (DO) levels drop to low levels, it can cause fish to die.  It can be fatal to dogs although most blue-green blooms are not toxic to humans and the signage around the Mere highlights this.
  1. Managing algal growth in water is complicated, in part, because there’s no definitive answer as to the cause of algae in ponds or lakes. Several factors come into play. Water nutrient levels, exposure to light, temperature, turbidity and the general conditions found in a body of water such as movement all contribute — and they’re all different from site to site.
  1. Humans have had a considerable impact. The most prevalent algae on the planet today is blue-green algae, which feeds on a steady diet of phosphorus and nitrogen. While supplies of these nutrients are found in water naturally — especially in areas where the water has a low oxygen content — it’s also introduced through chemical runoff and erosion. Fertilizers and other products as well as poor sewage management have contributed to excess nutrients for many years. Practices and products are changing, but in most circumstances the damage has been done.

Source – https://aeclakes.com/resources/causes-of-algae-in-lakes-and-ponds/

  1. The Mere is home to a large population of wildfowl including Mallard ducks and Canadian Geese due to a constant supply of food, which has encouraged the Mallard population to become increasingly sedentary. This in turn increases the build-up of droppings, which encourages the growth of algae and smothers aquatic plants and depletes the oxygen levels.
  1. The fish stock of Diss Mere belongs to the Diss and District Angling Club and consists of roach, perch, carp, bream, and pike. Despite a view that the Mere is overstocked with fish, an acoustic survey completed by the Environment Agency several years ago determined that the fish stock of the Mere wasn’t in excess.

There is always more that could be done & by implementing some of the recommendations in the plan, the support of the public and consideration for alternative ideas, we should be able to celebrate Diss Mere as the town’s most unique asset and certainly one of the reasons I moved to the area. – Sarah Richards, Town Clerk.

 

 

Mere’s Mouth Toilets

Diss Town Council (DTC) welcomes the District Council’s reminder of the commitments made by both DTC and South Norfolk Council (SNC) in 2015. If given the opportunity, DTC will fulfil its obligation to take on responsibility for the Mere’s Mouth toilets when SNC has fulfilled its obligations under the same agreement.

The Town Council’s April decision was based solely on revised proposals put forward by SNC. This return to our mutual obligations made in 2015, effectively nullifies that April decision. The situation is further complicated by the existence of a lease between SNC & the landowner (Diss Parochial Charities).

SNC gave £400,000 towards the construction in the Heritage Triangle. The conditions of the money being granted were that it could only be spent on the Heritage Triangle project and required public toilets to be provided in the Cornhall and the tourist Information office to be moved from its kiosk site.

The Town Council has been budgeting for the maintenance of the Mere’s Mouth toilets with the full intention of fulfilling its obligations.

Two surveys commissioned by SNC lead them to conclude that their £80,000 budget was insufficient to rectify the identified structural problems and in their view the buildings were best demolished. DTC was offered the £80,000 to take on the refurbishment at their own risk. However, given that the experts at SNC had not identified the additional costs involved and were not prepared to take on the risk themselves, DTC concluded it was not appropriate to put that burden on the taxpayers of Diss.

We would be happy to meet with Kay Mason-Billig to clarify the points where she feels there is confusion and to move the process forward. We do feel it is high time that the community in Diss, including our MP, were made aware of the facts surrounding the Mere’s Mouth toilets.

DTC is very happy to “face up to its responsibilities” as Richard Bacon says. Perhaps he could also urge SNC to do the same.

Note

The full details of the 2015 agreement are available under a Freedom of Information request and DTC urges any interested parties to obtain a copy this way.

Water Wonderland arrives in Diss for Carnival!

A brand new Carnival competition starts on Monday in Diss! 40 local businesses will be taking part in the Water Wonderland Window Dressing Competition to get into Carnival spirit this year!

Make sure you check out the fabulous window displays as you browse the shops of Diss between 21st May-11th June!

We couldn’t resist getting creative with our windows for Carnival!! 

Keep up to date with plans for Diss Carnival on their website- click here. 

Diss Town Mayor raises £1068 for his chosen charities!

At last night’s Annual Meeting of Full Council, cheques were presented to the Diss Town Mayor’s chosen charities; Norwich Mind & Tearfund, both very close to his heart.

Both charities received £534 each from money raised at various events lead by the Town Mayor in his Mayoral year.

Pictured below: Andy Robertson from Tearfund and Sarah Ingram from Norwich Mind.

Cllr Trevor Wenman was also re-elected to continue his role as Diss Town Mayor for another year by his fellow Town Councillors.

Almost 40 Diss traders to dress their shops in Carnival theme!

A brand new Carnival competition arrives with a splash from 21st May-11th June!

Almost 40 shop windows in Diss will be decorated in this year’s Carnival theme: Water Wonderland!

The best looking shop window will be chosen during Carnival weekend and the winner will receive their very own unique trophy and free editorial in the South Norfolk LINK magazine!

We can’t wait to see the various ideas and interpretations of the theme!

Diss Heritage Transport Fayre 2018

Diss Heritage Transport Fayre 2018.

Sunday August 12th will see the fourth annual Diss Heritage Transport Fayre, organised and run by the Diss Heritage Traders Group. The fayre has grown every year, and this year it will be even bigger and better, as vehicles will be displayed not only in the Heritage Triangle, but also in Mere Street and the Market Place.

The historic town centre will be graced with wonderful classic cars, vintage commercial vehicles, bygone public service transport, motor cycles, bikes, pedal cars etc, and as before the 1940’s petrol filling station will again pop up at the entrance to Cobbs Yard, in Saint Nicholas Street.

Vehicle owners are being encouraged to wear suitable dress, to match the era of their motors, and prizes will be awarded to those whose period costume is considered the best in keeping with their classic vehicle.

Music will be provided by The Diss Ukaholics ensemble, Morris dancers, Organ grinders and street musicians.

The town’s cafes, restaurants, deli’s, pubs and shops will open for the day and along with street food vendors, no one need go hungry.

The Heritage wildlife garden and Mere boardwalk are major attractions, in the Triangle, where you can actually walk on water! The wonderful Corn Hall recently restored and extended will host a display of period motor cycles, in the courtyard.

There is something for everyone, young or old and the theme for the day is step back in time.

Anyone wishing to display a vehicle or would like to help on the day, please email annechyde@gmail.com or telephone Peter Hyde on 01379 741414.

 

Become a Health Goal Volunteer!

We are looking for compassionate and friendly people to join us as Health Goal Volunteers for the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust in South of Norfolk. This exciting new role involves supporting patients to achieve a particular goal that will improve their health and wellbeing; for example, joining a group to pursue a hobby and to make new friends.

Volunteers will visit the client weekly for around 2-3 hours per week, for a period of 2-8 weeks, depending on the goal the individual would like to achieve. All volunteers will receive full training, including the opportunity to attend a 2 day course in Health Coaching, and ongoing support. This is a great opportunity to make a real difference to your local community.

For more information about becoming a Health Goal volunteer, please contact Pavlina Parashkevova, Volunteer Co-Ordinator (South) on 01603 272336 or email volunteering@nchc.nhs.uk