Urban wetland London – London Climate Change Partnership

© Jeremy Floyd

Some years ago, London started working intensively to become climate-adaptive. This development was inspired by several reasons. More and more frequent extreme weather situations have made it necessary to take measures. In 2007, for example, 150 Wimbledon matches were cancelled because of heavy rainfall and various instances of the Thames flooding, while parts of the Underground also flooded. Extreme heat (41°C in the Underground and melting tarmac during the 2006 heat wave), snow and drought are also issues that require attention. The various manifestations of the climate change are also acknowledged to have a major impact on the wellbeing and health of humans, animals and nature.

London Wetland Centre

One of the projects developed under this programme is the London Wetland Centre. This 42-hectare project on the site of a former reservoir of the Barn Elms Waterworks (the drinking water company) involved the formation of an urban wetland, which now plays a part in the urban water system and has become a very important factor in the improvement of urban biodiversity. The wetland centre, which is open to the public, offers visitors’ facilities such as a visitors’ centre, a bat house and similar attractions, as well as organised excursions. The wetland has become very important to nature development. It is a breeding ground for species such as gadwalls, grebes, terns and lapwings, as well as several types of songbirds and even sand martins. Migratory birds such as ospreys, black-tailed godwits, common crossbills, spoonbills and purple herons have also been spotted. [Gill et al., 2009Standley et al., 2009]

London Wetland Centre © Paul Brownbill / Anne d Chris Algar