Support is mounting for a campaign to dredge Weymouth's Radipole Lake following torrential rain and flooding disruption across the area this week.

Conservation organisation the RSPB, which manages the nature reserve at the lake, is behind the campaign.

Town councillor Matt Bell started an online petition last month calling for authorities to dredge Radipole Lake of silt after flooding around the River Wey area from Storm Ciarán.

READ MORE: Petition to dredge silt from Radipole Lake after floods

He is calling for the immediate dredging and/or removal of silt from the lake to increase flood water capacity and drainage from Radipole Park.

The last few months have seen the ground stay saturated and remain wet as river levels have not come down properly since Storm Ciarán and the intense rain the county has seen in October and November.

The petition currently has more than 1,150 signatures, with more physical signatures on sheets left at various businesses.

READ MORE: Radipole Lake dredging petition gets support from anglers

Following meetings between Cllr Bell and the RSPB, ‘dramatic changes’ were put forward said to benefit all whilst improving the ecology.

But Cllr Bell said it was dependent on Dorset Council being willing to carry out these actions as the landowners and Local Lead Flood Authority.

Dorset Echo:

He said: “The RSPB continue to be willing to lower water levels substantially during the September to March timeframe each year.

“This requires Dorset Council to action this process at the sluice gates at Westham Bridge in a timely fashion. The RSPB are also keen to encourage a silt removal feasibility study and they have prepared a grant application for this."

Cllr Bell said the RSPB sees ‘substantial benefits’ to de-silting the lake, including a reduction in eutrophication which is where a body of water becomes too enriched with nutrients. This will therefore see a reduction in algae blooms which can be harmful, secrete toxins and block the sunlight for wildlife.

According to the councillor, the RSPB is also willing to have the reed beds moved further back but de-silting is required.

Cllr Bell said the main challenge involves transporting silt away from the lake after its removal, which a feasibility study would consider.

He has called for a face-to-face meeting for all key organisations including the RSPB, Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Cllr Bell added: “It is important that this petition continues to grow and represents the strong feelings and concerns the local community has about this urgent situation. I hope Dorset Council will lower the water levels using the sluice gates urgently, in the knowledge the RSPB are willing to support this change."

Peter Robertson, Senior Sites Manager at Dorset Reserves, said: “The RSPB is a tenant of Dorset Council at Radipole Lake and manage the reserve’s habitats and visitor infrastructure.

"We continually look to improve the ecology of the site and the facilities on offer to visitors, although we do not have control of water levels in the Lake, which are managed by Dorset Council through control of the tidal barrage at Westham Bridge.

"There is a long-standing agreement with Dorset Council that they will lower the water levels in autumn and then raise them again the following spring.

"The RSPB have requested Dorset Council to convene a meeting of key stakeholders to draw up an action plan to address the siltation and flooding issues at Radipole Lake nature reserve."

Mr Robertson went on to say that positive action will increase the areas of wet reedbed, provide deeper water for fish whilst also reducing algae blooms. 

A spokesperson from Dorset Council said: "A considerable amount of work needs to be completed before we can make any decisions on this matter. Currently, we are forming a list of priorities to progress, before we can discuss with stakeholders. 

"Any proposed dredging operations are likely to require agreement from statutory bodies such as Natural England and Environment Agency and so this is not a decision that Dorset Council will make in isolation." 

To view the petition visit