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Volunteers refresh London wetlands

Wednesday 19th February 2020 12:00

A group of volunteers standing behind a sapling

Green-fingered volunteers from Thames Water planted a community orchard at a North London beauty spot.

To celebrate World Wetlands Day, the group of seven spent Friday, January 31, conserving, improving and protecting Firs Farm Wetlands in Enfield.

They joined members of the Friends of Firs Farm, local councillors and members of the Greater London Authority to plant 10 cherry, apple and pear trees at the wetlands. They also pruned and removed ivy from existing trees at the site.

Councillor Ian Barnes, deputy leader of Enfield Council, visited on the day to plant one of the trees. He said: “Firs Farm Wetlands is an outstanding project that has become an example of successful regeneration of a disused site that now provides essential flood storage and is also an important area for the community.

“There have been noticeable increases in wildlife, particularly bird life, and the transformation of the site has given members of the public a reason to use the site, bringing the community together.”

Firs Farm has been transformed in recent years from an under-used open space, into a new wetlands area thanks to a £900,000 project funded by the GLA, the Environment Agency, Enfield Council and Thames Water.

The project has provided flood storage to reduce the impact of surface water and urban pollutions, restored 500m of the Moore Brook, created a woodland watercourse and walk and incorporated educational features such as an outdoor classroom and "dipping platform", which is regularly used by local schools.

Thames Water’s contributed through its Community Investment Programme, which has allowed the company to provide funding and assistance to 65 community projects in the past five years.

Henry Badman, Thames Water’s conservation and community investment manager, said: “It’s amazing to see how Firs Farm Wetlands has been transformed over the years into a haven for wildlife and local beauty spot.

“By delivering these nature-based, low carbon solutions in partnership with amazing groups like the Friends we can deliver greater benefits for our customers.

“We’re now reviewing the work we’ve done looking at how we can deliver even more public value in the future.”

Toni Guiver, of the Friends of Firs Farm, added: “The work Thames Water is doing with the Friends here is changing people’s lives and the health benefits are incredible.

“The wetlands is now an educational resource, mindfulness space and is brilliant for wildlife. Long may our work together continue.”