A radio programme on urban river restoration has been inspired by recent accolades to the Quaggy.
“Getting the support of the local community was a key step in the battle to transform Sutcliffe Park.” QWAG founder Matthew Blumler is in full flow, answering a question about how QWAG’s greatest success was achieved. “Government organisations and local authorities tend to be risk averse, but ordinary people are more open to change” he adds. “When the local community was consulted a massive 78% supported our plans – that’s a huge endorsement.”
Even though this particular battle is now won, the listeners to Radio 4’s Nature programme this Monday evening could discern the pride and passion still evident in Matthew’s tone. The programme, about the growing urban river restoration movement, showcased the multi-award winning Sutcliffe Park, and has hopefully introduced a wider audience to QWAG’s achievements. Matthew also stressed the need to form a group of like-minded friends. “It’s too big a job for just one person” he opined. He modestly neglected to mention that such a group must have a dynamic, motivational leader with vision, commitment and persistence to get the job done.
Programme Abstract – From the BBC Website
Portrait of a heron in Sutcliffe Park lake in the summer of 2005. Photo by Mr. Kovanovic.
This is a scene you would not expect to see in an urban park on the edge of Lewisham and Greenwich in London – a heron fishing on a spring afternoon amongst reed beds. A few years ago Sutcliffe Park was a fairly standard urban green space. Grey tower blocks and a major trunk road surrounded football pitches and little else. But underneath the turf was buried one of London’s lost rivers, and now it’s been let out of its concrete pipe and is meandering through reed beds and ponds on its way to the Thames. In the process it has revitalised the landscape and brought the wildlife back in. In this edition of Nature Paul Evans looks at the growing success of urban river restoration right across the country and at the bus (sic) of enthusiasm that fills the river restoration movement.
Follow this link Unearthing Buried Rivers to listen to the programme.