Large Urban Wetland Approved for East London Upper Lee Valley

An artist’s impression showing the  Marine Engine House at Walthamstow Wetlands as it will look when the funding is invested. Walthamstow Wetlands will be Europe’s largest urban wetland reserve. Forest-700

An artist’s impression showing the Marine Engine House at Walthamstow Wetlands as it will look when the funding is invested. Walthamstow Wetlands will be Europe’s largest urban wetland reserve.

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The East London Upper Lee Valley will house Europe’s largest urban wetland by 2017, as plans are underway to create a chain of wetlands over 200 ha (500 ac) – a size three times greater than New York’s Central Park. The Walthamstow Wetlands project was approved earlier this summer and will cost about $13.5 million (£8 million). The wetlands will start just north of Olympic Park, a formerly industrial area, and span into the countryside. The 200 hectare (494 ac) site is also one of the largest sources of London’s drinking water. The project area encompasses ten reservoirs over a 3.2-km (2-mi) stretch adjacent to the River Lee. The project would restore marshes, many of which were drained in the 1950s, around the Thames Water’s Walthamstow reservoirs and the River Lee. The wetlands will be open to the public and include bike paths, a visitor’s center, and more.

Additionally, the site is the largest fishery in the city and a site of international importance for the wildlife that it supports, in particular its waterfowl. London Wildlife Trust will undertake the day to day management of the site, enhancing habitats for a wide range of species while ensuring that visitor numbers do not adversely affect the site’s important wildlife. Read more.

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