Thames21 calls on community to help bring Thamesmead canals to life in flagship project

Date of release: November 1, 2016

Thames21, London’s leading environmental charity for the waterways, is calling on volunteers to get involved in a series of events to launch a project in Thamesmead that aims to put canals at the heart of community life.

Thamesmead has 7km of canal and five major lakes, all of which are owned and managed by Peabody, one of London’s largest and oldest housing associations.

The Thamesmead Canal Habitat Enhancement Project, a partnership between Thames21 and Peabody, will focus on transforming the Harrow Canal in Arnott Close and Crossway Canal in Crossway Park into places where wildlife can flourish.

This will mean the waterways will be an asset not just for wildlife, but for communities to enjoy as an amenity and as educational spaces.

The project, which has received investment from Peabody, the London Borough of Bexley and more than £55,000 in funding from Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB), aims to encourage new refuges for fish and nesting places or birds.

Thames21 will lead the way in developing relationships with schools, youth groups, businesses and residents to become environmental stewards for the long-term sustainability of habitats and waterways in the area.

A series of litter and weed management clean up events, including removal of invasive vegetation, will take place in November, giving volunteers the chance to get involved.

Jessica Becher, Thamesmead Canals & River Cray project officer at Thames21, said: “The condition and maintenance of the canals was a key concern voiced by residents during a consultation when Peabody took over the management of Thamesmead n 2014.

“This demonstrates that these are clearly much loved spaces and that local people have a strong interest in improving and looking after their neighbouring waterways and environment.

“These values are at the heart of our work at Thames21 and, with our long-term connection with the area, we are excited to have this opportunity to work with residents and businesses in Thamesmead to bring the canals in that area to life.

“With the help of volunteers, schools, youth groups and families, we can turn these waterways not only into fantastic places for the public to enjoy and learn, but great places for biodiversity to flourish.

“Our work will be an important flagship project, spearheading local involvement to improve these much-loved Thamesmead features, increasing community involvement and a sense of ownership of these waterways.

“This will also create great opportunities for schools, encouraging teachers to use their outdoor surroundings for lessons.”

John Lewis, Peabody’s Executive Director for Thamesmead, said: “Located on the banks of the River Thames, Thamesmead has a close connection to water. The 7km of canal and five major lakes are some of the most loved places in Thamesmead. Our Waterways Officer does a great job and, with the help of the community, we know we can improve and maintain the canals into ones that both wildlife and residents can enjoy.”

Angela Haymonds, CETB Trust Secretary, said: “The Trustees are delighted to have been able to offer such a substantial grant to a worthwhile project which will be of benefit to a large number of local people as well as helping the wildlife to thrive. On completion, we hope that this project will create a beautiful space that can be enjoyed by all for the foreseeable future.”

The first series of litter and weed management clean up events are as follows:

Friday November 11, Harrow Canal Clean-up: 11 Arnott Close (near Christian Life Centre), London SE28 8BG, 10am-2pm

Thursday November 17, Crossway Canal Tump 52 Clean-up: At the end of Curlew Cl (near the entrance of Tump 52), London SE28 8HT, 10am-2pm

Thursday November 24, Harrow Canal Clean-up: 11 Arnott Close (near Christian Life Centre), London SE28 8BG, 10am-2pm

Please register you interest with Jess at

CETB funding is available for a wide range of projects that bring benefit to local communities. This may include refurbishment of churches or buildings of architectural or historical significance, or general amenity projects, such as improving disabled access or improvements to parks and nature reserves.

Crossway Park is located 1.2 miles from Cory Environmental Limited’s Riverside Resource Facility in Belvedere.


Notes for editors

About Thames21

Thames21 is an environmental charity putting healthy rivers back at the heart of community life. Through environmental improvements, education, research and advocacy efforts, Thames21 is inspiring and influencing effective and lasting change by working hand-in-hand with communities to deliver tangible and measurable improvements for urban rivers. | Registered Charity No. 1103997

About Cory Environmental Trust in Britain

Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB) is an Environmental Trust set up in 2003 under the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF), an innovative tax credit scheme enabling Landfill Operators (LOs) to contribute money to organisations enrolled with ENTRUST as Environmental Bodies (EBs).  EBs use this funding for a wide range of community and environmental projects in the vicinity of landfill sites. LOs are able to claim a credit (currently 4.2% for 2016/2017) against their landfill tax liability for 90% of the contributions they make. Since its inception in 1996, over £1.4 billion has been spent on more than 53,000 projects across the UK. For further information, please visit or see HMRC’s general guide to Landfill Tax.

Project’s objectives must match one of the approved LCF criteria and may include refurbishment of churches or buildings of architectural or historical significance, or general amenity projects, such as improving disabled access or improvements to parks and nature reserves.

Cory Environmental, one of the UK’s leading recycling and waste management companies, operates across the country and employs over 1,400 people at around 40 sites. The company provides a wide range of integrated services, from street cleansing and municipal waste collection to recycling, transfer and disposal. Cory’s services have been recognised with a number of awards for sustainable transport, the management of facilities and city cleanliness.

About Peabody

Peabody own and manage more than 29,000 homes across London, providing affordable housing for around 80,000 people. When Peabody acquired Gallions, Trust Thamesmead and Tilfen Land in 2014, it meant housing, community investment and over 100 acres of developable land in Thamesmead became owned by a single, well-resourced organisation for the first time in a generation. Peabody recently announced its proposals for a £1bn regeneration programme for South Thamesmead over the next ten years, making Thamesmead one of the top regeneration projects in the UK.

Media Contact

Ian Lamont

Communications Manager at Thames21

07739 627667

020 7248 7171