Following on from the very successful clean up by Citibank volunteers in June, the second stage of the Wapping Ornamental Canal enhancement project has now been completed. While stage 1 was largely about cleaning, stage 2 is all about greening. Six floating rafts, planted with native waterside plants, have been installed in the canal by Tobacco Dock.
The work was led by officers from the council’s Green Team and Bow Landscapes staff, ably assisted by a group of local volunteers. Three large rafts now float in the middle of the canal, with three narrow ones along the southern wall. Once established, these will provide greenery to offset the hard landscaping of the canal, with flowers of purple loosestrife and marsh marigold adding a touch of colour.
As well as making the canal look more attractive to human residents and visitors, the rafts will improve the canal for wildlife. The rafts will provide nest sites for birds, and food and shelter for fish and invertebrates. The plants will also have a small beneficial effect on water quality in the canal, by taking up nutrients and pollutants. The project has contributed to targets in the Tower Hamlets Local Biodiversity Action Plan.
Plans are now under way for the third phase of enhancements. This will concentrate on improving water quality and wildlife habitat at the western end of the canal by installing floating reed beds. Consultation with residents will start soon, with the work taking place in 2016 if agreed.