Report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.
The Committee received a report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath that provided an update on management and operational activities across the Heath since March 2015. The Superintendent advised members of the following matters:
28,000 visitors to the Heath had attended the Affordable Art Fair (AAF) and GROW London in June 2015. This represented a 10% increase in visitors to the AAF and a 34% increase at GROW London. 2,000 people also attended the City of London Festival event and a good attendance was expected at the Give it a Go! Festival on 12 July 2015.
Members noted that the music nights held on Fridays had been working well.
Men’s Pond Fatality
An inquest would be taking place in August 2015 at the St. Pancras Coroner’s Court.
Conservation and Ecology
The stock pond meadow had recently been baled. The stumpery at Golders Hill Park had water flowing through and round it which would be monitored by staff on site.
In response to a member’s question regarding appropriate bird feed, the Superintendent advised that an advice notice had been drafted and would be installed at appropriate ponds following feedback from the Heath and Hampstead Society. Staff would ensure that notices were visible and not obscured.
In response to a member’s question regarding the timing of the hay-making, the Ecologist advised that refuges for insect pupae would remain available in 20% of each meadow. Each meadow would be bailed at different times so other meadows would be fully available as a refuge.
The mini roundabout at the Traditional Playground had been repaired and was back in use.
Ranger Team Update
The sink hole near the Vale of Health had been repaired and the gate and latch-post were removed.
Tree Team Update
An Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) nest was discovered and removed from Queen’s Park in June 2015. Subsequently, seven nests had been discovered at Hampstead Heath and contractors would be instructed to remove those on City Corporation land in the next two days. Nests had been discovered in a variety of other London boroughs including Lambeth, Southwark, and Epsom and Ewell.
In response to a member’s question regarding the financial implications of monitoring OPM nests, the Chairman advised that the City Corporation’s Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee had requested funding from the Chairman of Policy and Resources. The Superintendent added that the initial surveys carried out by the Forestry Commission were at no cost to the City Corporation.
In response to a further member’s question regarding access restrictions, the Superintendent advised that plastic fencing was being erected around nest trees before the nests were removed. Regular monitoring and inspections should reduce the risk of having to restrict public access to certain areas. The Conservation and Trees Manager added that occurrences of people actually coming into contact with the caterpillars (i.e. skin contact) were rare. A leaflet produced by the Forestry Commission was circulated to all members present.
The hot water system at the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond had been repaired and the boiler replaced.
Judging for the Green Flag and London in Bloom awards had been completed recently. Results were expected to be announced in late July for the Green Flag award and mid-September for the London in Bloom award.
RESOLVED – That the Superintendent’s update be noted.