Improving Rivers

London rivers are often beautiful spaces for nature, but they face a number of challenges. The most urgent are flooding, water pollution, and plastic litter.

Alongside our famous clean-ups, Thames21 works to enhance and restore rivers in a number of ways which tackle these problems. Depending on the site, we work with partners to:

New wetlands, otherwise known as ‘Rainscapes’, create space for increased water flow, thereby reducing flooding. Reedbeds and other environmental improvements provide new habitats for wildlife, and help trap pollutants before they flow downstream. Removing barriers brings rivers back into the heart of communities, improving the wellbeing levels of people who visit them. And a more visible, well-loved river is less likely to be blighted by huge amounts of litter.

Caring for rivers is not just about improving them for the benefit of wildlife.  People living near river restoration projects across London report a better community spirit as the amount of shared space, and opportunities for volunteering and community action, have increased.

Our citizen science projects, advocacy and volunteer clean-ups work alongside these efforts to tackle water quality issues and the persistent problem of litter, especially plastic litter.

Our Thames River Watch citizen science project trains Londoners to capture vital information on Thames water quality and also the types of litter that is collecting on the foreshore.