Water Industry News

New Wetlands Developed Next To Aylesbury Sewage Works

Thames Water has been forging ahead with its environmental plans, with the development of new wetlands just outside Aylesbury sewage works, as well as the restoration of two hectares of grassland – with the aim being to increase local biodiversity and minimise the effects of climate change.


The 20,000 sq/m site is situated next to the River Thame, a prime location for bird biodiversity and storing carbon. By next spring, the site should be filled with plants and wildlife, encouraging waders like the snipe, little egret and green sandpiper.


Although the site is not yet open to the public, a bird hide has been set up and birdwatchers and other nature enthusiasts will soon be able to come along to experience the delights of the wetlands in person themselves.


Plans for the new development were first announced on February 2nd during World Wetlands Day, which takes place every year to help raise awareness about how vital wetlands are for both people and the planet.


Wetlands make up approximately three per cent of the UK and are home to ten per cent of the country’s wildlife species. They’re also able to provide highly effective flood protection by storing rainfall, while coastal wetlands like estuaries and saltwater marshes provide buffering from the sea.


Becky Elliott, Thames Water biodiversity manager and lead on 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.”


Inland wetlands like lakes, ponds, marshes, rivers, floodplains, fens and swamps serve as huge carbon sinks, storing carbon and stopping it from being released back into the atmosphere.


Thames Water has also been working with the Unstead Nature Community Group, as well as other local wildlife organisations, to recreate wetland habitats next to the Godalming sewage works this year and next. During lockdown, volunteers spent time restoring a bird hide and improving several access routes into the site.


The supplier is also working to improve the condition of an existing wetland at a water pumping station in Speen in Newbury, as well as exploring opportunities at its Cirencester-based sewage works, creating a wetland in collaboration with Cotswold Water Park.


And back in 2017, Thames Water collaborated with Waltham Forest Council and the London WIldlife Trust to open Walthamstow Wetlands, which provides 3.5 million people with daily drinking water, as well as serving as a popular site for anglers and walkers.


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