Severe weather has been blamed for the death of hundreds of fish at a country park in Holland-on-Sea.

The Environment Agency has confirmed an estimated 500 fish have been found dead in Holland Brook, which forms part of the Holland Haven Country Park.

An investigation into the deaths found thunderstorms caused by recent hot weather significantly lowered oxygen levels.

It caused the fish in the brook to suffocate.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “Dissolved oxygen concentrations were found to be between 3 and 10 per cent over five kilometres of the brook.

“We set up a number of aerators which over the week brought the concentrations back up to a sufficient level for the fish to survive.

“There have been no more reports of fish in distress or dying.

“That meant there was no need to rescue and relocate any fish.

“Live fish have been seen and caught by fisherman in the affected areas and we expect fish populations to recover naturally.”

It is understood a number of dead fish were washed downstream and have been spotted on beaches in the Holland area. An investigation into similar incidents in Essex where hundreds of fish have been found dead is also under way, with rivers in the Colchester and Bocking areas also seeing large numbers of fatalities.

Joy Broderick, ward councillor for Holland Haven, said she wants the Environment Agency to monitor fish in Holland Brook more closely following the deaths in July.

The Environment Agency said it is aerating the brook in the hope it will prevent any further fish deaths.

Ms Broderick said: “It is terribly sad to hear about this.

“There is a lot of algae growing in water like this so it does need to be checked regularly.

“They need to be more vigilant, especially when the weather is as extreme as it has been.

“If we don’t look after the wildlife up there then this will happen again.”

Anyone who sees dead or distressed fish in the brook at Holland Haven Country Park is asked to contact the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.