Letter to Ham&High on the Hampstead Heath Ponds Project

[REF: Who will be the guardian of the heart and soul of our threatened community? 28/05/15]

I am writing to correct Jessica Learmond-Criqui who in her piece last week said that the Heath’s ponds “have now been downgraded so that they are no longer considered reservoirs and they no longer have to have the same spec for structural reinforcements as previously thought”. That is categorically untrue. Three of the Heath’s ponds are classed as large raised reservoirs under the Reservoirs Act 1975, and safety work to these dams is legally required under this legislation. Ms Learmond-Criqui also says that taxpayers will foot the bill. I’d like to reassure readers that again this is not the case. The City of London Corporation is paying for the works entirely out of its own budget.

In terms of the aesthetics of the project, safeguarding the Heath’s character and landscape is at the very heart of this scheme. We are preserving views of the ponds with landscaped paths, improving water quality and ecological diversity and strengthening the earth dams so that they are structurally sound. I would encourage Ms Learmond-Criqui to take a look at the ‘before and after’ pictures and learn more about the project at

Bob Warnock, Superintendent, Hampstead Heath, City of London Corporation