New nature reserve to be created in mouth of Wandle Delta

Published: Friday 20th May 16

Work is due to begin later this summer on a new eco-project designed to support aquatic life in the River Wandle.

The council is to remove a tidal weir in the mouth of the Wandle along with layers of contaminated sediment that have built up in the delta over the past quarter of a century. 

This tidal weir will be removed

Improving water flows and removing sludge and silt to expose the gravel river bed will help restore a wildlife habitat measuring roughly a hectare in size that has the potential to become a spawning area and nursery for young fish.

The project is being funded by Thames Water as part of its work to improve water quality, restore lost wildlife habitats and offset the impact of its Thames Tideway Tunnel.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed early next year, is backed by The Environment Agency, the Marine Management Organisation and the Port of London Authority.

The council’s environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “This project is being carried out in partnership with Thames Water and aims to breathe new life into the Wandle. 

This stretch of the Wandle will be restored as a thriving wildlife habitat

“Removing the sludge and silt that has built up over the years and allowing the water to flow much more freely will hopefully restore a thriving habitat for fish and other aquatic wildlife. It will also encourage a much wider range of plant life to flourish in the river again.

Amar Qureshi, major projects director at Thames Water, said: “Improving the habitat in the Wandle will be of great benefit to not only aquatic life in the river, but also the local community. Work on the Thames Tideway Tunnel will only add to the benefit for this important water course as it cleans up the quality of the water to standards not seen for centuries.

“Whilst construction of the tunnel will mean some loss of habitat, by offsetting this with the removal of the weir, we will be able to give the Wandle the protection it deserves.”

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Recent comments

So what effect will the building of an enormous tower block (as proposed by Frasers ) have on this wonderful reserve?
Sheena Cockburn

25 June 2016

The "contaminated mud" at this site is actually a great habitat for water birds , particularly in winter . It's a wonderful atmospheric site , enhanced by the half sunken boat and mudflats. In winter large numbers of ducks , particularly teal , gadwall and tufted duck congregate here. The truth is this site is already a wonderful haven for nature , even though it doesn't have the title "nature reserve". Here is a genuinely wild site in the midst of an urban area , sadly now designated for gentrification . That process seems to have begun last week with the removal of a line of beautiful willows. Believe it or not this is London tree week. So depressing that the powers that be have finally discovered this last bit of urban wilderness.
Tim Straw

4 June 2016

I've started attending The Wandle Trust river cleanups (every second Sunday of the month 11am to 3pm) and recommend them as great fun and company you. Do come along, watch and perhaps join in. As well as cleanup, others make tea or serve food to the volunteers, so all abilities and age groups are welcome. Check them out on their wandletrust dot org website and come along.
Paul C

25 May 2016

Will the old boat which is sunken and stuck in the river mud close to the exit of the Wandle into the Thames be removed? Hopefully! It's such an eyesore when crossing the pedestrian foot bride from Putney Riverside Quarter to/from B&Q.

23 May 2016

It would be lovely if WBC or someone would clean up the debris from under the bridge at Mapleton Crescent. The Wandle Trust volunteers do it from time to time but it depends on their goodwill. It should surely be on some more regular maintenance plan. The land around the Wandle Recreation Centre is also litter-ridden so the whole area needs upkeep, not just by the Thames opening.
Celia Blair

22 May 2016

Great would also be good to clean the 300m upstream as have tried to fly fish this section. Look forward to seeing improvements. When will the work start and finish? What are you actually doing? Perhaps you could consult / include the Wandle Piscaters?

21 May 2016

Great to hear something will be done about this area. I witnessed 2 swans last weekend trying to nest amongst the plastic bottles and rubbish, very sad. Please have an ongoing process to maintain the area as well.
Paul Archdeacon

20 May 2016

Thank goodness something will be done about this sad area of filth and dumped debris. Its upset me over the 3 decades that Ive lived nearby how depressing this outflow is and what it could be.
Andrew Courten

20 May 2016