East London is going to get five beautiful new nature spots along the River Lea this summer– and its citizens have just voted on where they should go.

Date of release: 7 April 2017: A public vote run by Thames21, London’s leading waterways charity has determined the location of five new reedbeds for London’s River Lea Navigation. Just under 700 members of the public placed their vote for where they would like to see these pollution-busting plants.

Thames21 has already installed 750m² of reedbeds into the River Lea – the equivalent of 67 Routemasters end to end. The reedbeds are a key part of their ‘Love the Lea’ programme, which aims to improve the water quality and habitats of the Lea and the rivers that flow into it.

Reedbeds are a great benefit to a river; they increase biodiversity and habitats for wildlife, including kingfishers, dragonflies and fish – the latter use them to spawn and shelter – whilst removing local pollutants from the water by taking them up through their roots.

Of the nine sites proposed, these five received the most votes and will be installed by Thames21 with help from local volunteers: Pickett’s Lock in Edmonton (26 % of votes); Navigation Road, Bromley by Bow (26 %); Kessock Close, Ferry Lane Estate,Tottenham (27 %); Essex Wharf in Clapton (28 %) and the most popular, Bream Close, Tottenham. This site got over 30% of the votes, and is an appropriate location for a reedbed as it is adjacent to the mouth of the Pymmes Brook – which discharges a large amount of pollution into the Lea on a daily basis.

Ben Fenton is Thames21’s Love the Lea Programme Manager. He said: “What a great response! Nearly 700 people have taken the time to tell us where they want to see new reedbeds, and now they’ll have the chance to get involved in planting them too. We’re running free training to equip people with the skills to look after them into the future -check out the Thames21 event page for dates.’

Everybody who voted was entered into a prize draw to win prizes including London Eye tickets, goodies from The Five Points Brewery and more.

Stephen Baines is a keen local fisherman and won A Five Points Brewery tote bag with six different beers in the prize draw. He said: ‘I passionately believe that good waterside habitat is vital – both for creatures which live below the surface and the ones above. ’

 The new reedbeds will be installed between April and September 2017. Thames21 will be running events to install them and are keen for the public to help.

See in the coming weeks to get involved. Free accredited training ‘Vegetation management in your river catchment’ will be offered for those who want to learn more and gain the skills to look after reedbeds. These opportunities will be advertised on the same webpage.

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 the Environment Agency.


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

Media Contact

Kirsten Downer

Communications Officer at Thames21

07711 701 696

020 7248 7171