Mayor announces £2m to improve London’s green spaces

18 July 2013

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, today announced a £2 million fund for projects across the capital that will link and improve access to London’s green spaces and waterways.

Six projects across the capital will receive up to £420,000 each from the Big Green Fund. This builds on the work already underway to make London leafier, such as creating 100 pocket parks and planting an additional 10,000 street trees by spring 2015.

It follows on from the successful East London regeneration project that transformed the area around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2012 and which continues to provide a real legacy for surrounding communities.

Among the projects to have been awarded money from the Fund is an initiative linking Poulter Park in Sutton and Watermeads in Merton. With £390,000 from City Hall the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust will open Watermeads nature reserve to the public, improve access to the River Wandle, and connect green spaces in neighbouring boroughs with 4km of new landscaped walking and cycling paths.

The Trust will also offer training schemes for local people. Other winning projects include Lea River Park in Tower Hamlets and Newham, and Lesnes to Crossness in Bexley. All six projects, which aim to better link existing green spaces, rivers and streams, across the capital, will be complete by spring 2015.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “It is absolutely essential that we continue to enhance London’s green spaces as we build more homes and buildings to accommodate our growing population and support our economy. With more greenery making areas more attractive to live, work and invest in, we can continue to compete not only as the greenest city in Europe, but as the best big city on Earth.”

Peter Wilkinson, Chief Executive of the Wandle Valley Trust, said: “Thanks to this money from the Mayor we will be creating new habitats for future reintroduction of Water Voles, welcoming the public into historic Watermeads Nature Reserve for the first time, establishing a new ‘easy access’ path along the river for walkers, cyclists and disabled people, and giving young people new skills through the Wandle Green Team. These are just some of the ‘big ticket’ items that will help put London's newest Regional Park in the Wandle Valley on the map.”

- Ends- 

Notes to editors

• The Mayor’s Big Green Fund will provide grants up to £500,000 – from a total fund of £2 million- to support the delivery of up to six Big Green projects. The Mayor’s Big Green Fund helps to create a network of interlinked, multifunctional and high quality open spaces connecting town centres, public transport hubs, major employment and residential areas with the parks and open spaces, the Thames and the green urban fringe. For more information please visit:

• The six projects that have been awarded funding from City Hall:

‘Poulter Park and Watermeads’ (Wandle Valley Regional Park, Sutton and Merton)- £390,000 This project sits within the Wandle Valley Regional Park and was submitted by the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust. It will result in the creation of new access to Watermeads nature reserve, which is currently closed to the public, by the creation of 4km of new improved paths, new Wandle Gateways and improved seating, signage and interpretation. New flood storage capacity will be created and habitats will be improved across the project area. Walking and cycling from surrounding areas will be improved to create better connections to the Wandle Valley and Wandle trail. It will also help establish the Wandle Green team so trainees can develop employment skills through supporting the delivery of the capital works and parks maintenance.

‘Lea River Park’ (London Legacy Development Corporation, Tower Hamlets and Newham) - £240,000 This project is the first phase of the long term Lea River Park project aiming to join the Olympic Park with the River Thames and Royal Docks. The Big Green funding will be used to enhance a number of projects along the Lea River Corridor including: Planting and landscaping along route between Twelvetrees and Cody Dock; Cody Dock (re-landscaping, planting); Creating a new connection between Cody Dock and Canning Town, Landscaping and planting at Canning Town Riverside; Creation of planted ‘gateways’ between the Aberfeldy Estate and the future Poplar Reach park and riverside walk. Investment in the Lea River Park is expected to catalyse further development of the Lea River Park and unlock future funding.

‘Walthamstow Wetlands’ (Waltham Forest, Hackney and Haringey) - £420,000 Walthamstow Wetlands will open the reservoirs to wider public access, creating access to one of the largest areas of inaccessible open space in London. It will create an access route from north to south through the site, improving habitats and landscaping around a number of the reservoirs and to build a new classroom facility on the site for educational activities. The project complements the regeneration activity at Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Road, which is supported by the Mayor’s Outer London Fund.

‘Lesnes to Crossness’ (Bexley) £300,000 This project will link the Thamesmead community to the wider area through an enhanced network of green connections that maximises its place on the River Thames. It will help to deliver a missing link connecting Abbey Wood and Thamesmead with the river, and the Victorian pumping engine at Crossness which has been restored and is being marketed as a local heritage visitor attraction. The project is taking advantage of the planned Crossrail station at Abbey Wood which is expected to catalyse additional regeneration activity in the area. In addition to new connections, improved legibility, and landscape improvements the project will also create a ‘Green Team’ of 10 paid young people who will help to implement the project as well as opportunities for volunteering for local people.

‘Thames Chase Big Green Destinations’ (Havering and Barking & Dagenham)- £350,000 The Thames Chase Big Green Destinations project will create direct links between Dagenham East and Upminster stations to the Ingrebourne Valley, Rainham Marshes and the River Thames at Rainham and the Thames Chase Community Forest. The project will promote inward investment and economic activity by increasing visitor numbers to historic Rainham village and the RSPB nature reserve at Rainham Marshes, and the mountain-biking and walking routes throughout Thames Chase. It will make the less explored parts of East London’s green belt more accessible.

‘Blue Corridor Seeds of Change’ (Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon)- £300,000 This project will deliver a number of improvements along two river corridors in west London - the River Crane and River Colne. The key theme of this project is using the natural environment to create meaningful training and skills opportunities – aiming to lead to work placements or apprenticeships and develop large and small-scale community driven volunteering events.

• The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s ‘pocket parks’ initiative is set to transform 100 small and underused urban spaces with £2m worth of grants for projects across the capital. ‘Pock parks’ are around the size of a tennis court and will become small green oases for the local community to enjoy making London an even better place to live, work and invest in. All 100 ‘pocket parks’ are due to be delivered by March 2015. The Mayor has announced funding for the first 27 ‘pocket parks’ across 17 London boroughs. A further funding round for community based projects will open in May. For more information please go to>

• The Mayor’s Street Tree Initiative, delivered in partnership with the Forestry Commission and Groundwork London, is open to all London boroughs and private landowners who own or manage public realm (including businesses, registered social landlords, etc.). It is also open to civil society organisations and community groups working with or on behalf of boroughs and private landowners. For more information or to apply for a grant, from a total pot of £1.7m, under the street tree initiative visit:

• Funding for the next 5,000 street trees opened on 13th May and closes on 16th August 2013

• Peter Wilkinson, Chief Executive of Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust. The Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust has been set up to provide the vision, leadership, coordination, and resources to create a new regional park along the River Wandle over the next 10 years. The Trust has evolved successfully from an organisation still in effect governed by the London Boroughs in April 2012, into an independent Limited Company that aims to become a charity by the end of July 2013. The Trust has been set up to act as a catalyst for improvement and change. Its creation will help generate new investment to improve the facilities, management and maintenance of open spaces within the area of the regional park. The Trust will support the delivery of innovative projects, such as for Poulter Park and Watemeads under the Big Green Fund that will transform landscapes and their accessibility for the public - helping to make the Wandle Valley into a valued local resource as well as a visitor destination for London. The Trust’s Regional Park Board comprises directors nominated by the four London Boroughs ( Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton and Croydon), Government agencies (Natural England and Environment Agency), other landowners (National Trust and Mitcham Common Conservators), local community organisations (Wandle Valley Forum and Wandle Trust) and the business community (South London Business). The Mayor of London acts as an ‘Observer’ on the Trust Board.

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