Thames Water has celebrated World Wetlands Day by announcing the creation of a new wetland in Aylesbury, according to the Buckingham Advertiser.
The 20,000sq m site, which borders the River Thame, will be developed into areas of permanent standing water and will encourage waders such as Snipe, Little Egret and Green Sandpiper as well as help store carbon.
Raised mounds will be created for nesting and roosting birds as well as a large wildflower meadow, which will make a home for insects and small mammals. A bird hide, constructed on the site in 2016, will provide a viewing point for birdwatchers.
The new wetlands were designed in collaboration with the River Thames Conservation Trust, Environment Agency, Aylesbury Vale District Council and local birders. The work is expected to take four to five weeks.
Thames Water ecologist Becky Elliott, who is leading on the project, said: “Wetlands are important networks for migrating and breeding birds and for tackling the effects of climate change.
“We’re excited to create a new wetland at Aylesbury, which will become a thriving habitat for wildlife. We care about the communities within which we all live and work, and this is a fantastic example of Thames Water working together with local partners to benefit the communities we serve and help with nature’s recovery.”
Inland wetlands, such as marshes, ponds, lakes, fens, rivers, floodplains, and swamps act as vast ‘carbon sinks’, which store carbon and prevent it from being released back into the atmosphere.
Thames Water says it recognises the benefits wetlands have for wildlife and the local communities surrounding them and is working to create wetland areas across its water and sewage works.
Wetlands make up about three per cent of the UK but are home to around 10 per cent of all its wildlife species. They can provide flood protection by storing rainfall, and coastal wetlands such as saltwater marshes and estuaries provide buffering from the sea.
In 2017, Thames Water worked with Waltham Forest Council and the London Wildlife Trust with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to open Walthamstow Wetlands. The Thames Water operational site in North London, provides 3.5 million people with their daily drinking water and is a popular site for anglers and walkers.
Since it opened Walthamstow Wetlands has been visited more than a million times, has become a haven for all types of birds and wildlife and is an internationally designated Ramsar site, as well as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
From 2020 to 2025, Thames Water has committed to enhance biodiversity by five per cent at 253 of its sites which have biodiversity interest.
Image source: Buckingham Advertiser