Show your support for Pete the Pond

From: Andrew Durling and Sally BoysJoint Co-ordinators, Eastbourne and District Friends of the Earth

Friday, 12th March 2021, 9:58 am

Your article click here to read revealed the plight of Willingdon resident and local legend Pete the Pond, who has been instructed by Wealden District Council to clear his garden, including removing his entire collection of aquatic plants.

We in Eastbourne and District Friends of the Earth wish to express our deep concern that such a unique and ecologically valuable aquatic collection, a living reference library acquired over many years, is at risk, since the plants are in his garden precisely so that he can look after them properly and have easy access to them when necessary. Some Wealden council officers seem to be ignorant about aquatic biodiversity, because Pete the Pond has generously donated plants from his garden collection to many organisations – including local charities, community groups and councils – for the creation, maintenance and restoration of ponds throughout East Sussex.

Ponds are an inherent part of what makes England a green and pleasant land, and are key oases of biodiversity that need to be sustained, especially in this current time of significant decline nationally in our nature and wildlife. Ponds themselves are disappearing at an alarming rate and are threatened habitats now.

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So Pete the Pond, who has dedicated many years of his life to the cause of saving and making ponds, should be given every assistance to continue his work, not treated disrespectfully and unfairly by council officers who appear not to appreciate the value of his work, nor the importance of the aquatic collection he has built up, nor how important it is for his own mental health to remain in close proximity to his garden collection.

Our petition to Wealden District Council to urge it to rethink its approach to Pete the Pond’s garden has already gathered more than 2,000 signatures, and there are two other petitions also gaining many signatures, which is testament to the affection and respect Pete the Pond is held in by local residents and their children, many of whom have experienced at first hand his boundless enthusiasm in sharing his abundant knowledge of ponds and aquatic wildlife, as well as his willingness to be extremely generous with giving his time, labour, and advice about ponds for free.

We urge people to contact their political representatives to ask them to help lobby Wealden District Council to rethink its position and explore solutions to the situation regarding the aquatic collection that is satisfactory to all parties concerned, especially to Pete the Pond, one of our great Wildlife Champions.