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Thames Water creates new wetlands in Aylesbury

Tuesday 9th November 2021 11:02

Drone shot of new wetlands next to Aylesbury sewage works

Drone shot of the new wetlands next to Aylesbury sewage works.

  • The wetlands is a 20,000 square metre site next to the River Thame, set to be a prime location for bird biodiversity and storing carbon.
  • It should be filled with plants and wildlife by next Spring. Wetlands can help mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • The construction of the wetlands is focused on its environmental benefits and is not yet open to the public, though discussions are in place for it to open to some of the public and birdwatchers in the future.

Thames Water has created new wetlands and restored over two hectares of grassland in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire with plans to help increase local biodiversity and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Work on the wetlands, which are next to its Aylesbury sewage works, is now complete and it should be flourishing with plants and wildlife by next Spring. It is a 20,000 square metre site bordering the River Thame, which has been developed into areas of permanent standing water and floodplain meadows that encourages waders such as Snipe, little Egret and Green Sandpiper, as well as helping to store carbon.

The wetlands will be a great location for bird biodiversity, with the bird hide enabling effective monitoring. These sights should be open to birdwatchers and the public further down the line. Raised mounds have been created for nesting and roosting birds, alongside a wildflower meadow which homes insects and small mammals.

Thames Water Biodiversity Manager, Becky Elliott, who led the project said: “We understand the vital role that wetlands and grassland restoration has to play in reaching climate change targets. This is particularly important against the backdrop of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) currently being hosted in the UK. We are really excited about the new wetlands at Aylesbury. With further enhancement proposed in the future, we are working towards the site becoming a locally important greenspace for nature.”

Paul Watts, a local ornithologist said: “The proposals to create permanent wetland features are likely to increase the diversity of the site and provide an important habitat that would benefit a number of wetland bird species.”

Plans for the Aylesbury wetlands were first announced on February 2 during World Wetlands Day, an annual date for raising global awareness about their vital role for people and the planet.

Wetlands make up about three per cent of the UK but are home to around 10 per cent of all its wildlife species. They can provide flood protection by storing rainfall and coastal wetlands such as saltwater marshes and estuaries provide buffering from the sea.

From 2020 to 2025, Thames Water has committed to enhance biodiversity by 5% at 253 of its sites which have biodiversity interest.