Enfield Council and Thames21 launch major river restoration project

Date of release: June 22

Residents in Enfield are being given the chance to tackle river pollution and the effects of climate change as part of a major partnership between Enfield Council and Thames21.

Enfield Council was awarded £678,000 by the Government’s £80m Green Recovery Challenge Fund to create new woodlands and wetlands, as well as to carry out work to restore existing waterways. 

London-based waterways charity Thames21 has started delivering a series of volunteering events for the project, which is called Restoring Enfield’s Rivers and Connecting Communities. The events will run until the end of March 2022.

An official launch event for the project will take place on Thursday July 8th at Bury Lodge Wetlands in Enfield, from 11am to 3pm. Volunteers are invited to sign up to take part in a clean-up along the river and, towards the end of the session, surveys of invertebrates. Full details of this River Action Day, including how to sign up, can be found on the event listing.

At present, pollution affects all of Enfield’s rivers, including the Pymmes, Salmons and Turkey Brooks – tributaries of the River Lea. The project will improve water quality, reduce flood risk and boost biodiversity.

Volunteers planting at Albany Park, one of the sites that is part of the project
Volunteers at Albany Park

In the north of the borough, farmland pollutants run into rivers, causing algae to spread and oxygen levels to drop, which can kill wildlife. In the borough’s more urban parts, vehicle pollutants are washed into rivers from roads when it rains, disturbing the water’s natural ecosystems. Heavy downpours and droughts – weather events happening more often because of climate change – intensify these pollution problems.

Many of Enfield’s parks contain wetlands, created to soak up and filter pollutants before they reach the rivers. Volunteer events will ensure these wetlands are working well and that they provide a space for wildlife – such as birds, frogs, newts and dragonflies – to flourish.

Volunteers at Bury Lodge, Salmons Brook

Thames21 will work with volunteers, including several established local “friends of” river groups across the borough.

In addition, the project will support the Enfield Chase Woodland Creation Project. This is London’s largest tree planting project which is being led by Enfield Council with support from Thames21, to restore the natural landscape of Enfield Chase and the Salmons Brook valley. As well as planting 100,000 trees, this project will create new wetlands and ponds to slow down rainwater before it enters the Salmons Brook, reducing the risk of flooding downstream and cutting river pollution by filtering it out from nearby farms.

Debbie Leach, CEO of Thames21, London’s leading waterways charity, said: “We’re really excited to be delivering this ambitious project with Enfield Council. As an environmental charity, we’re acutely aware of people’s concerns about climate change and how this increasingly affects both wildlife and people. So we’re delighted to be able to give Enfield’s communities the opportunity to enjoy the borough’s wonderful blue green spaces, improve their physical and mental wellbeing and help their natural surroundings to thrive at the same time.”

Regular events for volunteers will appear on Thames21’s events page.

Enfield’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Guney Dogan, said: “Our partnership with Thames21 is a key component of Enfield Council’s pledge to protect and expand on our existing blue and green infrastructure. We are aiming to achieve a 25 per cent net increase of blue and green infrastructure, as set out in our Climate Action Plan, which will help to increase bio-diversity, protect waterways and surrounding homes and create a greener, cleaner environment for all. These projects will also help to bring together communities through voluntary projects which in turn will increase accessibility and connections with outdoor spaces.”


Notes for editors

About Thames21

Thames21 connects people with rivers by putting healthy rivers back at the heart of everyday life. We improve and restore rivers, educate and empower the community and campaign for positive change for the good of people and the environment. 

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and to tackle climate change. The fund is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

The aim of the fund is to support projects that are ready to deliver and focus on nature restoration, nature-based solutions and connecting people with nature, delivering against the goals of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP), while helping to sustain and build capacity in the sector.

Media are invited to attend the launch event, which will take the form of a river clean-up on Thursday July 8th from 11am to 3pm. This will be at Bury Lodge Wetlands, Enfield, N9 9LL. The meeting place is on the footpath just off the A10 (If using the what3words App, the code is back.call.sand). Representatives from Enfield Council and Thames21 will be available for interview and pictures.

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

Media Contact

Ian Lamont

Communications at Thames21


07711 701 696

020 7248 7171