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13 December 22

Affinity Water issues a safety warning after a tragic accident on a lake in Solihull

Affinity Water has issued a safety warning at its closed water sites and sensitive wildlife habitats at Stockers Lake and Hilfield Park reservoir in Hertfordshire following snow and ice in the South East of England. It follows a tragic accident on a lake in Solihull where three children have died and one remains critically ill.

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 skate or attempt to stand on the water 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.

Fiona Wilson, External Communications Manager at Affinity Water said, Affinity Water said: “We realise how tempting it is to skate on ice at this time of year. Our hearts go out to the parents and families of the children who fell through ice in a tragic accident at a lake in Solihull. This follows on from a number of other tragic deaths this year already in the UK in open water, so we are kindly reminding people of the severe dangers of skating 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. 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. Skating, 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 we want to remind them that skating is also prohibited and very dangerous. We want to extend our sincere condolences to the families of those impacted by the events at the Lake in Solihull this weekend.”

Are You Ready for Winter?

Affinity Water is also asking its customers to check their homes to see if they are “Ready for Winter?” to ensure they have lagged exposed pipes and taps in lofts and gardens. It is advising customers to check on what they should do by visiting its website and see some handy how-to videos: affinitywater.co.uk/winter-ready

If pipes do freeze, turn off the stop tap, slowly thaw the pipes near where it enters the house with a hair dryer, a towel soaked in hot water or a hot water bottle. Never use a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw a pipe. If a pipe bursts, turn off the stop tap, leave an internal tap on to allow thawed water to escape and contact a qualified plumber.

When looking for a plumber, it is recommended to select one that is a member of an approved contractor scheme, such as WaterSafe. Approved businesses can be found at:www.watersafe.org.uk

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