A new Local Biodiversity Action Plan (2019-24) has been launched in a bid to protect and enhance the variety of plant and animal life in Tower Hamlets.
The blueprint sets out what the council, registered housing providers, developers, community groups and residents can do to help conserve the borough’s important habitats and species.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “I am very pleased to adopt the Tower Hamlets Local Biodiversity Action Plan for 2019-24, which has been produced by Tower Habitats, our biodiversity partnership. It is very important that we continue to protect and enhance our biodiversity, not only for its own sake but also to ensure people who live and work in Tower Hamlets have the opportunity to enjoy contact with nature.”
“Our buildings are home to rare birds such as the Peregrine Falcon and Black Redstart. And despite being one of the most densely-populated places in the country, we have some very special wild places, such as Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Mudchute and Mile End Park.”
To officially launch the plan, Mayor Biggs helped plant one of five Black Poplar trees in Victoria Park on 4 October. The Black Poplar is Britain’s rarest native timber tree. It used to be so common on the Thames marshes that the Poplar district was named after it. The trees were very kindly provided at short notice by Hackney Community Tree Nursery. At least a further 20 Black Poplars will be planted as part of the five-year plan.
The plan has been divided into four areas based on the major land uses in the borough:
- the built environment
- gardens and grounds
- rivers and standing water
- parks, squares and burial grounds.
It identifies priority habitats and species for conservation, and sets out what key stakeholders can do to achieve the objectives and targets for these species and habitats, as well as actions to raise awareness of biodiversity.
These include planting new meadows and orchards and native trees in parks, housing estates and schools, ensuring new developments provide green roofs and nest boxes for birds and bats, and planting lots more nectar rich flowers to support bees and other pollinators.
David Edgar, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “Our biodiversity partnership, Tower Habitats, can be very proud of its achievements over the last few years. This new plan demonstrates our continuing commitment to ensuring that Tower Hamlets becomes an even greener and more environmentally friendly borough. It is crucial for us to conserve the environment around us, and it also makes the borough a more colourful and vibrant place to live.”
The new Local Biodiversity Action Plan builds on the successes of the last plan, which was adopted in 2014. During those five years, a huge amount was achieved for biodiversity in the borough, including:
- The creation and enhancement of more than two hectares of flower-rich grassland.
- The planting of 8,000 square metres of native woodland and 5,000 square metres of orchards.
- 12 new ponds in schools and community gardens.
- Around 1.5km of reed bed and other wetland vegetation created along canals and rivers.
- More than two hectares of biodiverse green roofs on new buildings – Tower Hamlets has a greater area of green roofs than any other London borough.
In addition, Mile End Park and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park are recognised as leading examples of how to manage urban parks to produce a wealth of wild plants and animals, and a fantastic experience of nature for our residents and visitors. All this was recognised in 2018, when Tower Hamlets won the Biodiversity Award in the London in Bloom Awards.
Photos by James Scott/LB Tower Hamlets – click to enlarge