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

Date of release: April 17 2017

Thames21, London’s leading environmental charity for the waterways, is calling on volunteers to get involved in a series of events to launch the second phase of the 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 enhancing various sections of the canals system in Thamesmead, this includes Harrow Canal in Arnott Close and Crossway Canal in Crossway Park.

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 and more than £55,000 in funding from Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB), aims to create new refuges for fish, nesting places for birds and turn the canals into havens for both nature and people.

Thames21 will develop relationships with schools, youth groups, businesses and residents to establish local environmental stewards for the long-term sustainability of habitats and waterways in the area.

Since November 2016, Thames21 have run 15 events, involving more than 60 volunteers. These events have resulted in the removal of more than 150 bags of litter from the canals, as well as fridges, mattresses, several bikes and scooters. Events run in March included installing a 20 metre long floating reedbed to Harrow Canal and 107 trees to green spaces such as Southmere Park.

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 in 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.”

Peabody’s Executive Director for Thamesmead, John Lewis said: “Thamesmead’s 7km of canal and five major lakes make up some of the most unique aspects of Thamesmead. Our partnership clean-ups, which many residents help out with, are truly remarkable and make our waterways into ones that both wildlife and residents can enjoy.”

Angela Haymonds, CETB Trust Secretary, said: “The Trustees are delighted to be able to support a project which offers such fantastic opportunities for local residents to make a tangible difference to the environment in which they live, whilst learning new skills and meeting new people. We look forward to seeing further improvements as phase two of the project gets going.”

If you are interested, the next clean up events as follows:

Friends of Tump53 Clean Up, Saturday April 22, 10am to 3pm

Thames21 will be seeking volunteers to manage vegetation and remove litter. The meeting place is Bentham Road, SE28 8AS

Thamesmead Crossway Canal Clean Up, Thursday April 27, 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Volunteers are needed to remove rubbish and invasive vegetation.

Alternatively, to learn more about our activities, please register your 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 5.3% for 2017/2018) 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 in Thamesmead

Over £1 billion is being invested in Thamesmead over the next ten years, making it not only the biggest regeneration projects in London but one of the biggest in the UK. This, together with two Housing Zones which are being led by the London Borough of Bexley and Royal Borough Greenwich and delivered by Peabody with funding from the Mayor of London’s office, has pushed Thamesmead into the top regeneration projects in the UK.

As Thamesmead’s main landowner, Peabody is driving the town’s regeneration in collaboration with partners. This includes delivering around 3,000 new homes, refurbishing hundreds of other homes and improving and creating public spaces over the next ten years.

Thamesmead is one of Peabody’s core priorities, and a dedicated Thamesmead regeneration team has been built to deliver the ambitious vision to help make Thamesmead London’s new town. A place people choose to live, work and visit.

Thamesmead is already home to over 45,000 people, beautiful green spaces, excellent rated schools and unrivalled space and scale. Long-term, Thamesmead provides the opportunity for 20,000 new homes and for thousands of high value new jobs, complemented by a new leisure, cultural and commercial offer for the town and for London. Our patient and comprehensive approach will ensure the existing community is at the heart of its future.

 Peabody in London and the South East

Peabody has been creating opportunities for Londoners since 1862, when it was established by the American banker and philanthropist, George Peabody. Our mission is to ensure that as many people as possible have a good home, a real sense of purpose and a strong feeling of belonging.

We work solely in London, owning and managing more than 29,000 homes, providing homes for around 80,000 people. From the summer of 2017, following an agreed merger with Family Mosaic housing association, this would grow further to 55,000 homes across London and the South East.

As well as bricks and mortar, we provide a wide range of community programmes for our residents and neighbourhoods, including help with employment and training, health and wellbeing projects and family support programmes. In 2015/16 we delivered over 44,000 hours of community activities.

Media Contact

Ian Lamont

Communications Manager at Thames21

07739 627667

020 7248 7171