THE Vale Council has apologised for failing to notify the public before they dredged Barry’s Knap lake last week.

The mistake has caused anger amongst residents, who have reported hundreds of dead fish on the lake's floor.

Whilst the geese, ducks and some of the fish were rescued by Newport Swan Rescue, many of the smaller fish could not be saved.

Janet Wilde, who lives at the Knap, said: "Had it not been for the Newport Swan Rescue, I don’t know what would have happened to these animals.

"They rescued buckets of fish, but the shallow end of the lake was full of dead fish.

"No swans or ducks are to be seen now – I expect this is how the local authority would like it to stay.

"It would be a big loss to a lot of people if none of the birds came back."

Dennis Harkus was also angry at the move.

"It’s the lack of consultation that I find unacceptable," he said.

"And it’s no good blaming the staff or the workforce - genuine consultation and engagement with the public is a culture that starts with leadership from the top, and that is a fundamental problem with this council."

Phil Beaman, Vale Council operational manager for parks and grounds maintenance, said: "The Knap Boating Lake has been drained in order to improve the water quality of the lake and to assist aviation safety.

"Prior to the drainage, the parks division contacted Swan Rescue South Wales who monitored the swans and when appropriate took the swans to the RSPCA West Hatch Animal Centre in Somerset.

"As the lake was draining, we became aware that unknown persons had introduced fresh water fish into the lake without authorisation.

"The parks division would like to thank the Swan Rescue South Wales who managed to remove these fish. The lake will be cleaned and refilled ready for the Christmas break.

"The parks division apologises for not letting users know in advance about the cleansing process.

"Should anyone wish to discuss the project, they are welcome to contact the parks and ground maintenance division by calling Contact OneVale on 01446 700111."

Two years ago, six swans died because rescue organisations were not warned in time to collect the birds. The seven weeks it took to clean the lake meant many of the swans had to be re-homed elsewhere.

This year, the RSPCA was given enough notice to collect the swans, but should the lake cleaning take another seven weeks, they may again have to be rehomed elsewhere.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA in West Hatch said: "Two years ago a lot of the swans were dying because of the bacteria and silt in the mud even before we got there.

"But we were given notice this time.

"I wouldn’t like to say whether we will have to take them elsewhere again – I hope they will be returning to Barry.

"The council hasn’t given us a date for the clean up yet, but we are hoping it will be soon."