Firs Farm wetland in Enfield is the focus of a documentary investigating how cities are tackling the issue of flooding worldwide.
The PBS series, Sinking Cities, filmed an entire episode in London looking at ways the capital is responding to increased flood risk – which is now viewable online. They visited and filmed Firs Farm to highlight how natural approaches are part of the solution. They also filmed in New York, Tokyo and Miami. Enfield Council designed and delivered the wetland, in collaboration with Thames21 and local community groups.
‘The scale of hard engineering needed to address flood risk and climate change is becoming unfeasible. It can’t go on forever. We need to manage flood risk in a more natural way,’ explains Thames Water’s David Harding as part of the documentary. Harding is Thames Water’s stakeholder manager and worked with Thames21 and Enfield Council on the Firs Farm project.
Not only does the Firs Farm wetland site store tens of thousands of cubic metres of water during intense rainfall, protecting people living downstream, it cleans the water of pollution and provides nature sanctuary for wildlife and Londoners alike.
Thames21 collaborated with Enfield Council on the Firs Farm project, which restored more than 500 metres of the Moore Brook, a ‘lost’ tributary of Pymmes Brook near Palmers Green. More than 100 homes are now better protected from flooding, along with a section of A10 dual carriageway. Local volunteers The Friends of Firs Farm played a key role in the project.
The Sinking Cities series filmed series was created as part of Canadian PBS channel public media initiative Peril or Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change, looking at the human stories of climate change.
Thames21 is working alongside local communities to reduce the impacts of climate change in a number of other ways, including our four natural flood management projects. Our community modelling work has identified 34 potential sites within the London Lea Catchment which could be transformed in a similar way to Firs Farm and we are working hard with partners on these. We are also alert to developing other wetlands which would both improve our river environment and make the capital more resilient to the upheaval of climate change.
Firs Farm wetland filters polluted water from sewer misconnections and road runoff, and has dramatically enhanced the park by transforming a disused space. A cycle-way and network of footpaths, outdoor classroom and several seating areas encourage visitors and create better green links between Winchmore Hill and Edmonton.The site won the Canal & River Trust’s 2017 Living Waterways Awards in 2017.