The notice most dog owners choose not to notice.
Guardians of the environment is how Severn Trent Water would like to be percieved and certainly they do have a huge responsibility, not only in terms of public needs for a reliable water supply, sewage and even leisure, but also to wildlife. It is difficult to estimate the importance of Severn Trent reservoirs and land in the Midlands to Birdlife in particular. Annual records show the diversity of species that benefit from Severn Trent sites for breeding, wintering grounds and vital resting and feeding grounds during migration. Severn Trent is aware of this but is also aware of pressure from the public for recreation and leisure activites. The increased demand for such activities causes friction between various user groups and the needs for genuine conservation. Nowhere illustrates these problems more than Draycote Water near Rugby where visitor numbers have escalated over the past few years to unmanagable levels.
However, my main concern is what is happening more locally at Shustoke reservoir near Coleshill. An insignificant pond compared to reservoirs like Draycote but a vital link in survival strategy of birds overflying the North Warwickshire/South Birmingham area. I visited Shustoke today. The signage is clear enough requesting the cooperation of those privileged to use the site. As far as I am aware there is no public footpath around the perimeter. However, during the period from 11.00 am till noon no less than 8 dogs were allowed to roam wherever they liked and only 1 was taken round on a lead as requested by the signs. Seems to me people pretty well do as they please these days and show precious little regard or respect for anyone else. In this case it is the majority who are spoiling it for the minority and only a total ban would solve the problem, but then that deprives local, responsible dog owners, walkers and birdwatchers alike. A limited permit scheme might be the answer but there would be costs involved there. Perhaps its a job for the big society.
.....and the birds; a couple of Raven flew over making a half hearted attempt at display, a few Goosander floated about and two Oystercatcher landed on the only undisturbed area of shoreline near the Sailing club.