New habitats in Lea Navigation at Bow


Thames21 has created two new areas of native wetland vegetation in the Lea Navigation in Bow in May 2016.

In late May, a new sixty-metre-long “floating ecosystem” (see photo above) was installed adjacent to the car park of Tesco’s Bromley by Bow superstore, thanks to funding from the Tesco “Bags of Help” scheme and the London Legacy Development Corporation. As well as improving the biodiversity of the area, the aim of this floating ecosystem is to break down pollutants in the river and improve the water quality, to provide habitats for wildlife and a place for fish to spawn.

Earlier in May, 130 metres of reed bed were created on the Tower Hamlets side of the Navigation by the Bow Flyover, with additional habitat created on the Newham side. Rather than floating rafts, this project planted reed and other native wetland plants into coir mats, secured by brushwood faggots attached to existing rock-filled gabions. Several large Carp have been seen sheltering by this recently.

Both projects are part of Thames21’s Love the Lea campaign, which has installed 574 square metres of new wetland vegetation into the Lea Catchment in the past year. This includes another floating ecosystem at Bow Locks, installed in December 2015.

The completion of these projects means that the five-year target in the Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-19 to enhance 250 metres of canal has been achieved within less than two years, thanks to previous enhancements to the Regent’s Canal and Wapping Ornamental Canal. Further planned enhancements should see the target greatly exceeded by 2019.


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