Newly planted rainscapes will improve the quality of Enfield’s waterways

Leading London waterway charity Thames21 and the London Borough of Enfield have planted several thousand wetland plants as part of two rainscapes which will help improve the water quality in Salmons Brook and its tributaries.

At the height of summer, 39 hardworking volunteers dug deep in the hot weather and planted 3900 wetland flowers, grasses and reeds in new rainscapes at Grovelands Park and the Glenbrook by Boxers Lake in Enfield.  These rainscapes, also known as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), have been created by Thames21 and the London Borough of Enfield as part of a project to improve water quality in the borough.

The Salmons Brook and streams which run into it are badly polluted by chemicals and heavy metals washing off roads when it rains, and properties with misconnected plumbing: Household appliances, sinks, showers and even toilets can be incorrectly linked to drains meant only for rainfall.  They then flush dirty waste water directly into the streams.

Rainscapes can help mitigate these problems. Wetland plants and bacteria in the roots and soil are the key for water quality improvements.  As the water passes through shallow sculpted ditches and is held in wetlands, the plants are able to productively use nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates, which would otherwise become pollutants in a stream.  Bacteria in the roots and soil can also break down oils and heavy metals left on roads by vehicles.  In a traditional piped drainage system these wash straight into the nearest stream or river.

Aimee Felus, Salmons Brook Healthy River Challenge Project Manager said: “It has been very satisfying to see the rainscapes created, with help from wonderful local volunteers.  The plants are starting to thrive and grow strong.  By next summer the wetlands will be lush pollution busters, also bringing new wildlife to the area.  The streams of the Salmons Brookwill face a much better future with more rainscapes like these. ”

Ian Russell, Senior Flood Engineer, Enfield Council said: “These projects demonstrate the effectiveness of working together with local communities and making the most of natural processes to improve Enfield’s watercourses.  The Council are pleased to support the Salmons Brook Healthy River Challenge project and hope to extend this approach to other catchments in the borough.”

Two more rainscapes will be created as part of the Salmons Brook Healthy River Challenge.  The wet woodland on Houndsden Road will be restored, a great bonus for biodiversity too.  A former council tree nursery next to the A10 will also be transformed with a rainscape, treating run off from this very busy road.

For more information please contact Aimee Felus, Salmons Brook Healthy River Challenge Project Manager: 07554 402 727,