The Regent’s Canal gets greener


On 10-11 April 2015, volunteers planted native aquatic vegetation to improve wildlife habitats in the Regent’s Canal opposite the Ragged School Museum. This contributed to targets in the Tower Hamlets Local Biodiversity Action Plan by enhancing 110 metres of canal and creating 26 square metres of reed bed. Molly Gadenz of the Lower Regents Coalition, one of the main organizers or the scheme, reports on the day and talks about future plans:

Unloading gabion planters“The Lower Regents Coalition is a volunteer group formed in June 2013 by two individuals who had a shared appreciation for their local stretch of the Regents Canal and its importance in the community.  Our mission is to invite others to help us improve the health and appearance of this waterway and the surrounding green spaces for everyone to enjoy.  To that end, we have run volunteer cleanup events each month for the past 22 months (over 35 events so far).  We love this gem of a spot and so do many others, for we see more and more volunteers of all ages getting stuck in with us to make a difference.

We are committed to continuing our regular cleanups but are taking things to the next level with our ‘Greening the Regents’ project.  This project involves launching a series of improvement schemes along the canal, with a focus on involving more local residents in our work. We are very pleased to announce that Phase 1 of Greening the Regents has just been completed!

Planting in Regent's CanalPhase 1 followed on from a grant for over £9,900 we received from the Tower Hill Trust.  We used this funding to install aquatic planting schemes in three different areas of the canal.  These consist of floating planters, coir rolls and coir pallets seeded with reeds, sedges and iris.  The total length covered by all three planting schemes is approximately 110 metres.  For the installation, we held a two-day volunteer event and had 15 volunteers each day who gave their time, enthusiasm and very hard work to help us complete the project.  We will be maintaining the site by holding future volunteer events to help ensure that the plantings are well care-for.  We look forward to seeing the plants flourish and beautify the area!

canalcornerplantersFuture activities we would like to run include: continued clean ups (both land and water-based); transforming neglected green spaces into wildflower meadows to attract pollinators; and installing bird and bat boxes to encourage more wildlife.  We would also like to hold at least one ‘Community Day’ where young people, families and others can view the results of our work to date, have a paddle in the canal and sign up for future events.

Our Greening the Regents project is all about enhancing the environment and inviting people to enjoy and care for the wonderful waterways and green spaces that we are lucky to have in our neighbourhood.  We believe we are affecting change and making a positive difference in our community and look forward to carrying on.”

All photos are courtesy of the Lower Regents Coalition. There are lots more photos in the group’s Flickr albums. To find out more about future projects and how you can help, e-mail the Lower Regents Coalition, or follow the Coalition on Facebook and Twitter.


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