Thames21’s ‘Rewilding the Rom’ project shortlisted for ‘UK River Prize’

Environmental charity Thames21 has been shortlisted as a finalist for a prestigious river award for its innovative ‘Rewilding the Rom’ project – a project which has constructed a wetland and connected it to the River Rom in East London.

Thames21 is shortlisted for the ‘Reach Scale’ category of the The River Restoration Centre’s UK River Prize award.

Carolina Pinto, River Restoration Manager at Thames21, said: “We are delighted to be nominated for the Reach Scale category. We have been able to work with our volunteers and partners to make the Rewilding the Rom project a great success. Through this collaborative effort, we have reconnected the River Rom to its floodplain, developed a wetland and helped to transform the river into a healthy environment for wildlife whilst reducing the flood risk for local residents. These are vital aspects of our ongoing work to help build healthy rivers, especially in light of the climate emergency, for the benefit of people and wildlife.”

Thames 21 has led this project, which was officially completed in 2022. Nevertheless, ongoing work has been done to encourage the involvement of local people to get ‘hands-on’ and help with river improvement events, such as cutting back vegetation to help the River Rom to breathe or tree planting events. This has helped local people to learn more and actively enjoy contributing to their local area and local river.

Volunteers from Barking and Dagenham Council’s Park Rangers have also been instrumental in helping the project to succeed.

The project has been supported by Thames Chase (this initiative started with the Land of the Fanns) and was developed on Barking and Dagenham land. The project has also been supported by Barking and Dagenham Council, the Roding, Beam and Ingrebourne Catchment Partnership, Havering Council and Havering Wildlife Project.

The initiative was funded by Essex & Suffolk Water, the Environment Agency, Kusuma Trust, the Mayor of London’s Rewild London Fund and Thames Water.

A spokesperson from The Kusuma Trust said: “Kusuma Trust is happy to have partnered with Thames 21 to help restore and rewild the River Rom and to see this extraordinary place become a key natural resource for the local community and all Londoners.”

The UK River Prize celebrates the achievements of those individuals and organisations working to improve the natural functioning and ecological integrity of our rivers and catchments, and recognises the global benefits to society of a healthy natural environment. It is a collaboration across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to celebrate best practice across the four countries.

The UK River Prize is awarded by the River Restoration Centre (RRC). It is judged by a panel of UK experts. The UK River Prize winners will be announced on 24th April 2024 at the UK River Prize Awards Dinner, in association with the RRC Annual Network Conference in Llandudno, North Wales.

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. | Registered Charity No. 1103997

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