London mayor funds six new projects to restore rivers, parks & green infrastructure

On May 21, 2018, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced the six winners of over £2 million of grant funding for river restoration and green infrastructure improvements, as part of his push to make London the world’s first National Park City.

The winning projects, selected by a panel of experts, include cycling and walking greenways in Barking and Ealing, park regenerations in Barnet and Lewisham, river restorations in Enfield, and new wetlands in Harrow, which will help preserve a 14th century moat.

Beckenham Palace Park in Lewisham was awarded £440,000 for restoration.

The improved spaces will also include new skate parks, football pitches, tennis and basketball courts, a new lake for wild swimming and kayaking, and a new space for parkour, a fast-paced obstacle-course sport.

The awards were made as part of the Mayor’s Greener City Fund. Sadiq also announced that he is allocating an extra £3 million to the fund, bringing the total to £12 million.

In addition to today’s winners (£2m), the fund provides grants for community green spaces and tree planting (£5m), greening the built environment (£800k), trees and woodlands (£3m) and community engagement to help make London a National Park City (£1m).

Khan said: “London is the greatest city in the world and I want to make it one of the greenest too. That’s what my Environment Strategy is all about: cleaning our air, reducing waste, and becoming a zero-carbon city.  For too many Londoners, nature simply doesn’t feature in their daily lives. That’s why we’re aiming to become a National Park City, with more than half of our capital green. Today’s funding will draw even more people into our outstanding parks by making green spaces more attractive and better for the environment.

The Mayor presented his new Environment Strategy to the London Assembly, which aims to make London the greenest global city and the UK’s first National Park City, by cleaning the capital’s air, planting trees, reducing waste, and becoming zero carbon by 2050.

The Mayor also met with Environment Secretary Michael Gove to discuss environmental challenges after Brexit, and to make the case for new powers to tackle London’s air quality and waste problems.

Lynn Kinnear, a landscape architect and member of the judging panel, explained, “Some projects stood out because they strengthen the London-wide blue green network as well as investing in new green social infrastructure for London. For example, the newly created swimming lake at Beckenham Place Park will be a tremendous asset for all of London. Silk Stream Valley Park will intensify the facilities and use of an existing green space to support new housing intensification as well as creating new natural play and ecology opportunities by deculverting a length of river.”

The winning projects include:

  • Barking and Dagenham: The Ripple Nature Reserve and Greenway (£400,000) — A walking and cycling greenway and linear park to create new routes off busy roads, including for school journeys. The project will also link to a nature reserve, and includes a community orchard and natural play facilities.
  • Barnet: Silkstream Valley Parks regeneration project (£324,000) — Improvements to two existing parks, including new facilities for football, tennis, basketball, skateboarding, and parkour. The project will also deliver a new café, event space, and river improvements to support new trees and wildlife habitats.
  • Ealing: Brent River Park – Greenford to Gurnell Greenway (£325,000) — River improvements to transform underused green space to open up the riverside to Londoners, reduce flooding, and improve river biodiversity and habitats.
  • Enfield: Albany Park restoration (£346,000) — Reducing flood risk to over 200 properties by restoring a river, creating a naturalised channel bringing the river into the park, and creating new wetlands and meadow habitats.
  • Harrow: Headstone Manor Park (£300,000) — Construction of new ponds, reeds beds, and wetlands to help preserve a 14th century moat. The project will improve water quality, protect the river network, and increase biodiversity.
  • Lewisham: Beckenham Place Park restoration (£440,000) — Transformation of south-east London’s largest publicly accessible park, including the restoration of a Georgian lake and stableyard, the provision of a café and public toilets, and a work to improve gardens around listed buildings. The project will also include a volunteering centre, BMX track, skate park, upgraded footpaths and a new lake for swimming and kayaking.

Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said, “We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this funding and that the Mayor of London is continuing to invest in this wonderful park. It’s a significant boost to the multi-million-pound regeneration of this historic park. The grant will increase the native woodland with the planting of almost 3,000 new trees and support the restoration of a key heritage feature – the lake – which will not only be a valuable open water habitat for wildlife, but also provide south east London’s only opportunity for wild swimming.”

All photos–including the featured photo of tree-planting—courtesy of the City of London.

Learn more about the Greener City Fund here.

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