Molly Gadenz and Dave Bedford of the Lower Regents Coalition write:
The Regent’s Canal from Limehouse Basin to Mile End Road in London is recognised as one of the UK’s very best green spaces, as one of a record number of parks and green spaces to collect a Green Flag Award.
The section of the Regent’s Canal between Limehouse and Mile End Road in Tower Hamlets has been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as one of the very best in the country. This part of the Regent’s joins over 100 other green spaces awarded recognition in London.
This stretch of canal is cared for by the community group the Lower Regents Coalition. It is among a record-breaking 1,970 UK parks and green spaces and 131 open spaces in thirteen other countries around the world that will today receive a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space. This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
The Lower Regents Coalition officially adopted the section of the canal between Limehouse Basin and Mile End Road in Tower Hamlets as part of Canal & River Trust’s ‘Adopt a Canal’ programme in June 2014. The group maintains the stretch by securing their own grant funding and running volunteer events.
Dave Bedford, Co-Chair of the Lower Regents Coalition said: “We are delighted to receive a Green Flag Award for the second year. It is a fantastic reward for all the hard work our volunteers have put in over the last few years. We are not a charity but rather a local volunteer group that runs clean up and improvement events that are free, fun and open to everyone. Our section of the Regent’s Canal is well-loved and used by many from across Tower Hamlets and beyond. We know how much quality green spaces matter, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining our section of the Regent’s to a high standard.”
Molly Gadenz, Co-Chair of the Lower Regent’s Coalition said: “We are extremely fortunate to partner with some wonderful organisations to receive ongoing support. Without their aid we could not have achieved all that we have to date. Our partners include the Canal & River Trust, LB Tower Hamlets Biodiversity Officer, Moo Canoes, The Ragged School Museum , Thames21, Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Tower Hill Trust, the Mayor’s Greener City Fund and Veolia Environmental Services. We run regular litter picks along the canal (photo left) but have also taken our work to the next level with our ‘Greening the Regent’s’ scheme. This involves securing grant funding to undertake larger enhancement projects on the canal. To date we have successfully secured over £40,000 in funding to carry out projects such as installing 250 metres of aquatic plantings in the canal and creating two 150 square metre canal-side wildflower meadows.”
For the group’s latest project, funded by the Mayor’s Greener City Fund, and supported by Canal & River Trust, they partnered with a group in Hackney, Wildlife Gardeners of Haggerston, to install new floating structures each totalling approximately 80 metres in their respective areas. We plan to link these two areas and create a true “Green Corridor” within Greater London.
International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “It’s fantastic that we have more Green Flag Awards in the UK than ever before, joined this year by 131 International winners. Each flag honours the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. We congratulate each and every winner on their fantastic achievement.”
The Lower Regents Coalition continues their work with their next monthly litter pick on 31st July 6-8pm at Moo Canoes’ Milk Float barge, located on the River Lea E9 5EN. For full event info and to find out more about the group, please contact them via email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Photos by Lower Regents Coalition and Moo Canoes