Greening Tottenham Lock

Mayor funds floating reed bed project

By Frances Dismore

A swan and cygnets              Credit: Frances Dismore

Community-led waterways clean-up group Stonebridge Lock Coalition (SLC) has been awarded £20,000 to green the Lee Navigation thanks to the Mayor of London’s Greener City Fund and match funding from Canal and River Trust.

The Mayor created the fund as part of his plans to make London a National Park City, where more than half of London’s area is green by 2050.

The news has been well received by SLC members, who are working with stakeholders, and Haringey Council to improve our waterways.

Jane Halsall, who lives on the Lee Navigation, said: “Instead of watching swans make their home in piles of plastic bags, which is a very depressing sight, we will have the joy of seeing them nest amongst beautiful sedges, rushes, purple loosestrife and flag irises.”

In addition to greening the concrete-banked canal and providing seasonal interest for people using the towpath, floating reed beds will create priority habitat for wildlife. They will buffer against severe temperatures and create habitat for fish nurseries, providing larval food-plants for insects and nectar forage for pollinators too.

A cormorant on the lock               Credit: Frances Dismore

“As a child Tottenham Marshes was my playground” said local resident, Dr Emma Chan.

“We are very lucky to have these wildlife habitats on our doorstep; Tottenham Marshes, a nature reserve, Lockwood Reservoir, a site of special scientific interest, and the globally important, Ramsar designated Walthamstow Wetlands! I want to ensure that these areas are looked after so that all local people, now and in the future, can get into nature. That’s why I’m proud to be a member of SLC. We’re a group of residents concerned about our planet and the problems affecting it, such as plastic pollution in the oceans, but also the decline of biodiversity because of loss of habitats. We volunteer our time to engage in grassroots action to address this.”

Cllr Ruth Gordon, Tottenham Hale Ward has participated in SLC waterway clean-up events, she said: “Huge congratulations are due to the volunteers in SLC in winning this award from the Mayor of London’s Green City Fund. It’s vital for the immediate and long-term health of residents of Tottenham Hale that we all work together to improve the wonderful natural assets we have in Tottenham Marshes and along the waterways.

“Parts of this ward are afflicted with dreadfully poor air quality, so maintaining, improving and protecting our open spaces is more vital than ever. I’m determined to keep the issue of green and open public spaces high on the council’s agenda. I would urge local residents to get volunteering with the SLC. It’s great fun and really gratifying when you see what a difference can be made clearing up the junk and litter and letting the wildlife flourish.”