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All creatures great and small get their own floating island homes on the Regent's Canal

PUBLISHED: 10:11 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:20 21 May 2019

Floating islands for the Regent's Canal wildlife. Picture: Lower Regent's Coalition

Floating islands for the Regent's Canal wildlife. Picture: Lower Regent's Coalition

Lower Renets Coalition

Floating islands are literally being launched on the Regent's Canal to help east London's wildlife flourish.

Planting wildlife habitat in the Regent's Canal. Picture: Lower Regent's CoalitionPlanting wildlife habitat in the Regent's Canal. Picture: Lower Regent's Coalition

A chain of aquatic vegetation is being created as a green 'corridor' from Mile End to Haggerston.

The 230ft-long wildlife 'reserves' are being put together by two volunteer groups, the Lower Regent's Coalition and Wildlife Gardeners of Haggerston.

"It's easy to feel helpless reading about biodiversity loss," Wildlife Gardeners' Gideon Corby said. "But we can make a difference.

Volunteers from Lower Regent's Coalition improving the canal's biodiversity. Picture: Lower Regent's CoalitionVolunteers from Lower Regent's Coalition improving the canal's biodiversity. Picture: Lower Regent's Coalition

"Imagine the Regent's having as much wildlife as the Kennet & Avon Canal—that's the dream we can realise."

The volunteers take to the water in Mile End and Haggerston tomorrow to assemble the floating structures, plant them up and pull them into place along the water's edge opposite the towpath.

The Lower Regent's Coalition which has 'adopted' a two-mile section of canal from Limehouse Basin to Mile End to improve the water and towpath began creating floating wildlife 'islands' in 2015.

Homes fit for wildlife as well as humans on the Regent's Canal at Victoria Park. Picture: Mike BrookeHomes fit for wildlife as well as humans on the Regent's Canal at Victoria Park. Picture: Mike Brooke

Volunteer Molly Gadenz said: "We hope our new green corridor enhancements create focal points for appreciating all the benefits the canal provides."

The Wildlife Gardeners of Haggerston have 'adopted' the Regent's Canal between the Whitmore Road bridge and Kingsland Road and also look after the neighbouring Kingsland Basin nature reserve.

The floating islands contain native aquatic plants including Marsh Marigold, Meadowsweet, Purple Loosestrife, Ragged-Robin and Yellow Flag Iris to create new habitat for urban wildlife such as dragonflies, herons, kingfishers and wrens.

The scheme has backing from the Canal & River Trust that looks after Britain's waterways and ecology experts and from Biomatrix Water, and is being paid for by the mayor of London's 'Greener City' fund.

Canal trust's Tim Mulligan said: "We welcome any chance to support this eco-system as more communities get involved with improving the waterways."

The Canal Trust runs regular volunteer events including litter picking, removing graffiti and especially creating wildflower gardens.

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