The transformation of Firs Farm Wetlands, an urban park in the Pymmes Brook Catchment, was announced as a winner at the Canal & River Trust’s 2017 Living Waterways Awards ceremony, held in Birmingham last week (27 September 2017).
The awards seek to recognise the most exciting and inspiring waterway-based improvement projects across the UK each year.
The project, run by London Borough of Enfield and Thames21, London’s leading waterways charity, restored more than 500 metres of the Moore Brook, a ‘lost’ tributary of Pymmes Brook near Palmers Green. A once featureless playing-field margin has been transformed, providing new wetland habitats and improved water quality. In addition, more than 100 homes have been given improved flood defence and a section of the A10 dual carriageway is protected from potential flooding. A cycleway and network of footpaths, outdoor classroom and several seating areas have been added to encourage visitors and to create better green links between Winchmore Hill and Edmonton.
Commenting on the project, which won the ‘Natural Environment’ category, the Living Waterways Award Panel, said: “The highly integrated nature of this scheme, involving very active partners and close co-operation between different professional disciplines, is truly inspiring. The revealing of a hidden watercourse is not unique, but pursuing this aim to fulfil so many different goals is highly noteworthy, and project has already demonstrated its value as a catalyst for future work.”
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Daniel Anderson, said: “We are thrilled for all the council officers and volunteers who have worked and continue to work extremely hard to maintain this unique habitat. It is one of the largest sustainable urban drainage systems of its kind in Europe, providing essential flood defences for homes and helping to increase biodiversity. In turn, the Firs Farm project has helped to foster a strong community spirit, which we are sure will continue for years to come. Congratulations to all.”
Thames21’s Senior Programmes Manager John Bryden added: “This has been a really successful partnership project and we are delighted to have supported the Friends of Firs Farm and Enfield Council in the development and delivery of this as a community space and environmental education resource. Our monitoring programme has shown the significant reduction in pollution levels that the wetlands deliver, helping to restore the Pymmes Brook Catchment towards a healthy state and delivering massive benefits to wildlife.”
The Living Waterways Awards, Sponsored by Kier, Arcadis, CPC Civils, Land & Water, Vinci and Fountains, and are assessed by an independent panel of experts.
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, explains: “The Canal & River Trust is once again proud to announce the winners of our national Living Waterways Awards. These annual awards give us the opportunity to celebrate the tireless efforts of those who are helping to transform the nation’s rivers, canals, lochs, lakes, and reservoirs, making them exciting vibrant places where people want to be.”
Notes to editors
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The Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales, caring for the nation’s third largest collection of listed structures, as well as museums, archives, and hundreds of important wildlife sites.
We believe that living waterways transform places and enrich lives and our role is to make sure there is always a place on your doorstep where you can escape the pressures of everyday life, stretch your legs and simply feel closer to nature.