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23 July 21

Affinity Water issues safety warning to the public

Affinity Water has issued a safety warning following reports of people swimming at its closed water sites and sensitive wildlife habitats at Stockers Lake and Hilfield Park reservoir in Hertfordshire.

These are both closed water sites, with underwater obstructions and debris, as well as very cold water and strong currents. This is why they are marked with clear warning signs and fencing as it is extremely dangerous to swim at these sites.

Supervision is a key part of staying safe in the water, which makes these sites even more dangerous as there are no lifeguards, and usually very few people around to help if someone gets into danger.

These sites are owned by Affinity Water and managed by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. They are also protected and managed havens for birds and wildlife. Disturbing these protected habitats also has a huge impact on the plants and wildlife.

Kevin Barton, Head of External Communication, Affinity Water said:

“We realise how tempting, especially during hot spells, it must be to swim in lakes to try and cool off but the sites we own are extremely hazardous for this activity. With so many tragic deaths this year already in the UK in open water, we are kindly reminding people of the severe dangers of swimming at our locked and managed sites. Please do come and enjoy the nature reserve at Stockers Lake but please, for your own safety, do not enter the water. The Hilfield Park reservoir is a locked site and is not open to the public.”

“With open water swimming becoming more popular, there are a number of supervised open water swimming clubs and qualified instructors at designated safe sites across the country and we would advise anyone interested in this to contact these organisations to find out more. However, entering a prohibited or locked reservoir can put your life in extreme danger.”

Josh Kalms, People and Wildlife Officer (Affinity Water Sites) from Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said:

“We want people to enjoy the nature reserves we care for in a safe and respectful way. Swimming and boating is prohibited on the nature reserve all year round in order to protect the sensitive habitats of the wildlife found there. Stocker’s Lake is one of very few undisturbed refuges for wildlife in the Colne Valley. Sadly we’ve had instances of visitors swimming in the lake and disturbing nesting birds which is a criminal offence.”

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