Sussex heatwave: Hassocks fish in distress after pond's water level falls drastically at former golf course

Fish have been seen struggling and dying in a pond on a former Hassocks golf course following the Sussex heatwave.

Photographs taken at the pond near St Andrews Place and London Road Recreation Ground last week show drastically low water levels.

Both West Sussex County Council and the Environment Agency have been informed.

County Councillor Kirsty Lord said a Mid Sussex resident raised concerns about the incident.

Fish have been struggling and dying in a pond off the A273 at Hassocks near the London Road play area

“The water level has dropped significantly given low rainfall recently and the extreme heat,” she said.

“He raised this with the Environment Agency and I have also worked with my district council colleague, Sue Hatton, to raise this with Mid Sussex District Council as we want to make sure the pond water supply has not been affected by recent housing developments.”

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An Environment Agency spokesperson said the incident is just one of a number of reports across Hampshire and Sussex about fish in distress due to the recent extreme heat and low rainfall over the past few months.

Fish have been struggling and dying in a pond off the A273 at Hassocks near the London Road play area

The spokesperson confirmed that a small number of fish in the Hassocks pond have died.

He said: “We have provided advice to members of the public about what can be done though we have not been able to contact the owner of the site.

“We are currently establishing if we can get a sample of these fish for molecular investigation techniques to identify if they are an invasive non-native species.”

The Environment Agency warned that anyone removing the fish from the pond would need prior consent from them.

Fish have been struggling and dying in a pond off the A273 at Hassocks near the London Road play area

The spokesperson said: “Removal without the owner’s permission could be considered as theft. Reintroduction elsewhere (anything other than a small garden pond) would also require a permit from us.

“We do not recommend introducing fish even into a garden pond without knowing the health status of these fish as there is a risk of transferring parasites or a disease which could wipe out the existing population.

“If you introduce fish without consent you may be prosecuted and fined up to £50,000.”

Anyone who sees fish in distress is urged to call the EA’s Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

For more information visit www.gov.uk.