A new reedbed in your community – your vote counts!

Date of release: Monday February 6, 2017

Thames21, London’s leading waterways charity, is asking the public to choose the location of five new reedbeds for London’s River Lea Navigation.

To date, Thames21 has installed 750metres² of reedbeds in the River Lea. These reedbeds are part of the charity’s ‘Love the Lea’ programme, which aims to improve the water quality of the rivers of the Lea Catchment. Reedbeds greatly benefit rivers. They increase biodiversity and habitats for wildlife, whilst acting as a natural filter and removing pollutants from the water.  

In the next stage of the project, Thames21 is holding a public vote. This will allow local communities to vote for a new reedbed in their area, with each reedbed up to 100metres². Nine sites are proposed, in four different London Boroughs – Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Haringey and Waltham Forest.

The project has been funded by Thames Water, and carried out in partnership with the Environment Agency and Lea Valley Regional Park. The locations for the sites have been approved by the Canal and Rivers Trust and are currently being approved by the Environment Agency.


Photo: A typical reedbed installed by Thames21

Ben Fenton, Thames21’s Love the Lea Programme Manager, said: “We want people to enjoy their local river. By offering the chance to choose the location of reedbeds, we hope to create a sense of ownership and perhaps entice them to join us to install the reedbed and look after it into the future.

“In our recent survey, more than 90 per cent of people said that reedbeds improve an area aesthetically. Luckily, they are great for rivers and the wildlife too. Recently, the public have spotted kingfishers on some of our reedbeds in Tottenham.”

The public vote will run from February 13 to March 31. Everybody who votes will also be entered into a prize draw to win prizes, including London Eye tickets, goodies from The Five Points Brewery and more.

The new reedbeds will be installed between April and September 2017. Thames21 will be running events to install them and hope that the public will volunteer to help. Free accredited training will also be offered for those who wish to be involved further. This will equip people with the skills needed to look after our rivers into the future.

Cathy Purse, Thames Water Community Investment Programme Manager, said: “This is a fantastic project, providing communities with the opportunity to enhance their local area through wildlife as well as giving them key skills in habitat management. The public vote is a brilliant way of giving ownership, so communities can tell us where they would benefit most from the reedbeds installation. We’re proud to lend our support to such a worthwhile scheme.”

The nine sites are listed below. People can place their vote at: www.thames21.org.uk/reedbed-vote when voting opens from February 13.

  • Site 1: Navigation Road, Bromley By Bow, E3 3TG
  • Site 2: Mabley Green, Homerton Road, Homerton E9 5FA
  • Site 3: Lindisfarne Way, Lower Clapton, E9 5PQ
  • Site 4: Essex Wharf, Lea Bridge Road, Clapton, E5 9HP
  • Site 5: Riverside Close, Clapton, E5 9SU
  • Site 6: Springhill Sports Ground, Clapton, E5 9BL
  • Site 7: Kessock Close, Tottenham, N17 9PW
  • Site 8: Bream Close, Tottenham, N17 9DQ
  • Site 9: Pickett’s Lock, Edmonton, N9 0AT


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.

More information about Thames21’s work on reedbeds in the Lea Navigation can be found here: http://www.thames21.org.uk/reedbeds-in-the-lea-navigation/

Read more about the Love the Lea project here: http://www.thames21.org.uk/project/lovethelea/

www.thames21.org.uk | Registered Charity No. 1103997

Media Contact

Ian Lamont

Communications Manager at Thames21


07711 701 696

020 7248 7171