PLASTIC waste which littered the banks of Rooksbury Mill nature reserve was washed up from an eco-project by the borough council.

At the Green Flag-awarded site, there is a conservation initiative which sees circles of hay floating in the lake strung together using plastic bottles in netting, but some appear to have escaped and instead were polluting the waters this week.

Test Valley Borough Council, which runs and maintains the nature reserve, has been taking a stand against littering and fly-tipping in recent months with a string of prosecutions.

One walker at the lakes, who wished not to be named, said: “They make all this noise when others litter. I think they should be ashamed to be honest.

“I’m amazed at the thoughtlessness of this really.”

The resident added the undesired impact of the environmental project was likely to be due to the strong winds during last weekend.

Portfolio holder for community and leisure, Councillor Tony Ward, said: “The borough council is working on a project at Mill Lake, Rooksbury Mill to help reduce the seasonal weed and algae growth to improve the local environment. Before the bottles are recycled, they have been put in barley straw rings to help the rings float. As the straw rings degrade naturally, they stop the build-up of weed and algae.

“The barley straw has been secured in nets out on Mill Lake. Unfortunately, a number of bottles escaped after the netting was damaged and we have since collected them and put them back in place. The straw will break down over the next few months and we will undertake a review of the project at the end of the summer.”