MIL-OSI United Kingdom: Mayor announces 21 successful Rewild London Fund projects to help make the capital more resilient to climate change

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Source: Mayor of London

·        Mayor announces 21 projects that have been awarded a share of £1 million in Rewild London funding  

·        Projects include boosting beavers in Enfield, frogs in Lambeth and voles and shrews in Haggerston

·        Mayor is also funding £47,000 for the Young Ambassadors tree planting programme, supporting 20 schools

 The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today announced a further 21 projects awarded a share of a £1 million to rewild communities across London, helping to improve the environment and make the capital more resilient to climate change.

The Rewild London Fund projects include encouraging amphibians back to Archbishops Park, boosting beavers’ habitat in Enfield and transforming a neglected Victorian pond into a wildlife oasis.  The funding aims to improve the condition of 40 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) in London and some of the projects will help to clean up rivers that have been neglected for far too long.

This brings the Mayor’s total investment in rewilding London to over £2.4 million, which includes £750,000 from Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund. In total, the fund will have helped to create or restore over 350 hectares of wildlife habitat – the equivalent of nearly 490 football pitches – across the capital, bringing nature back into the city for all to enjoy.     

The list of funded projects include:  

  • Archbishops Amphibians in Lambeth

Lambeth Council will upgrade the habitat across Archbishops Park, Waterloo with a focus on frogs and toads. Working with Archbishops Park Community Trust they will create; a new marsh garden adjoining an existing pond, 70 metres square of new wildflower planting, minibeast towers to provide a habitat for a variety of insects, woodland walk underplanting, and a long ditch to support hibernating reptiles and amphibians during winter months.  Volunteers will be involved in all stages, and will be trained in habitat creation, and monitoring the amphibian population in the park and surrounds.   

  • Enfield Beaver Project

Enfield Council will upgrade the current beaver project at Forty Hall alongside project partner Capel Manor. Elements include expanding the enclosure which will lead to habitat improvement in the short-term, and development of the site into a Metropolitan Site of Importance for Nature (SINC)  in the long term. Communities will be involved, supporting and monitoring the beavers from a new viewing platform and paths around the enclosure.  

  • Old Lea River and Marshes Restoration

Run by the Wildlife Gardeners of Haggerston, the third phase of this project will improve the connectivity between the Old Lea River and the Lea Navigation Canal through better management of the woodland along the banks of both waterways and the installation of stepping stone habitat patches to allow field mice, voles and shrews to move more easily across the grassland that separates the two woodlands and waterways. Volunteers will be trained to become Urban Riverfly surveyors to help in the ongoing monthly monitoring of aquatic invertebrates and water quality.  

  • Stanmore Common restoration

Stanmore Common is a 49 hectare Local Nature Reserve and Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. This project will re-connect valuable heath areas,  allowing heath spotted orchid and other specialist heathland plants and invertebrates to thrive. This London Borough of Harrow project will restore five hectares of grassland and heathland which are priority habitats for London.  The local community will be able to take part in on site events like bat and bird spotting walks, moth trapping, and other practical volunteer opportunities.   

  • Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators, Rewilding Queensmere Pond

Queensmere Pond in Wimbledon and Putney commons, dates back to 1887 when it was created for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It is in poor condition, with no vegetation and is full of silt. Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators will transform the pond into a thriving natural feature with increased biodiversity,  installing 1200m² of reedbeds.

  • Birds in Bunhill Fields

Bunhill Fields is a 1.6hectare Site of Importance for Nature (SINC) garden managed by the City of London Corporation’s Gardens Team with the assistance of the Friends of City Gardens. The rewilding and learning project will focus on the planting of native plants, ferns, trees, herbaceous plants and wildflowers to improve the space for not only pollinators but birds, butterflies and the local community. Outdoor learning sessions will be created for scything and woodland management reconnecting people with their local space and traditional methods of greenspace management.  

The Mayor has asked London Wildlife Trust to act as delivery partner to take forward some of the London Rewilding Taskforce’s final recommendations including convening a London Rewilding Action Group (LRWAG). This will bring together experts in nature conservation, community engagement and sustainable finance to develop one or more large-scale rewilding pilots to be delivered in London. London Wildlife Trust will also conduct a review of the Sites of Importance in Nature Conservation (SINC) selection guidance to provide greater emphasis on upgrading sites and identifying the future pipeline of new SINCs.   

The Mayor has also announced an additional £47,000 in funding for the Young Ambassadors tree planting programme, part of the Trees for London Programme and New Deal for Young People Mission. The funding will help support learning about trees, planting and maintenance in at least 20 schools – giving young people the opportunity to engage in positive social action in their local communities, making school grounds greener, more pleasant places to work and play while providing shade and helping to encourage wildlife into the grounds.  

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “This new rewilding funding will support the restoration of some amazing spaces in the capital, enabling Londoners to benefit from nature on their doorstep and help us to combat the impacts of climate change.

“I believe that all Londoners should be able to enjoy green spaces and that access to nature is a social justice issue. So I’m doing all I can to ensure that Londoners can enjoy wildlife wherever they are in the city.  

“Once again we have worked very closely with community groups and organisations across London to find out what support they need rewild the city. By bringing back beavers, restoring river banks and proving spaces for wildlife to thrive, we are making London a greener and cleaner city for everyone whilst also making the capital more resilient to the effects of climate change. This is one important way we are building a better London for all.”

Emily Fox, Nature Recovery Programmes Manager at London Wildlife Trust said: “We are excited to be supporting the third round of the Rewild London Fund, which will support 21 projects, including preparing for grazing at Tolworth Court Farm and heathland restoration at Stanmore Common.   

“In the Trust’s new role as delivery partner for the London Rewilding Action Group, we will bring together a range of stakeholders to explore the development of large-scale rewilding projects in London. Both provide inspiring opportunities to work collaboratively towards nature’s recovery across the capital and show a step change towards a wilder city.”  

Katie Morello, London Wildlife Trust Trainee and Youth Board Member said: “Being a Keeping it Wild trainee and a member of the London Wildlife Trust Youth Board has been an incredibly enriching experience for me. It hasn’t just been about learning; it’s been about standing up for nature, connecting with like-minded individuals, and making a tangible difference towards the environment. From a session of reedbed management to spearheading a campaign tackling eco-anxiety, both roles centre young people in driving change, affirming our ability to shape the future of wildlife in London.” 

Colin Cooper, Chief Executive, Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators said: “Ponds are important havens for wildlife and Wimbledon and Putney Commons are fortunate to have nine of them.  One of the largest, and most popular with visitors, is Queensmere Pond.  A man-made pond, its concrete banks and lack of marginal vegetation means there is huge potential to vastly enhance its ecological and community value. Thanks to funding from the Mayor of London’s Rewild London Fund, we have been able to carry out surveys to better understand the pond’s condition and produce plans for a project to rewild the pond and its environs.

“We are thrilled that that we can now bring those plans to life and transform Queensmere into a safe and thriving habitat for wildlife, and visitors can look forward to seeing the pond alive with wildfowl, frogs, newts, dragonflies and an abundance of plants.”   

Since 2016, the Mayor has made more than £30m available for green space and tree planting projects improving and/or creating some 1,035 hectares of green space between 2017/18 and end of 2023. The Rewild London Fund, Grow Back Greener and his Green and Resilient Spaces Funds are just some of the mechanisms used to deliver improved green spaces in London. 

MIL OSI United Kingdom