A WORRIED nature-lover has called on authorities to save a “stagnating” lake from a “dominating and suffocating” weed.

Tony Newton, from Colchester, said the “much-loved and much-used” Lexden Park, popular with walkers and families, is suffering from an invasion of duckweed.

He said: “Last year the lake was infected with this native weed that invades rivers and lakes.

“In the case of a lake, the weed chokes the entire area of the water in a very short time.

“The weed dominates the lake and consumes the oxygen present in the water.

“Any fish in the lake risk the chance of suffocation.”

Mr Newton said he had witnessed dead fish rising to the surface of the lake.

He called on Colchester Council, which manages the nature reserve, to take action to tackle the invasive weed.

Last month the authority announced new measures to tackle the spread of weed and algae on the River Colne.

Waste, environment and transportation boss Martin Goss said the river was in a much better condition than previous years.

Mr Newton called for the council to extend its efforts to the lake at Lexden Park.

“The situation now has become critical,” he said.

“The lake is now covered, and the water stagnating.

“The fish are now dying in great numbers and the smell is awful.”

A Colchester Council spokesman said: “We are aware of a proliferation of surface weed covering Lexden Park lake and have been working with the Environment Agency in recent weeks to try to tackle the problem.

“When water samples were taken during the first week of August, the lake was found to contain safe oxygen levels for fish and other aquatic life.

“However, weed mass can double in size every couple of days given the right conditions and when our rangers visited the lake during the recent spell of very hot weather, the problem had spread to such an extent that several dead fish were seen floating on the surface.

“We immediately contacted the Environment Agency to request specialist equipment to deal with the problem and are continuing to work with them to ensure oxygen levels in the lake return to normal as soon as possible.”