Nature Based Solutions describes an approach to solving problems with natural resources, defined by the EU as: Solutions that are inspired and supported by nature, which are cost-effective, simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience. And that is precisely what Enfield Council is doing with its latest habitat creation initiative called the Enfield Chase Restoration Project.
Working with the charity Thames21, Enfield council have an ambitious plan to plant 100,000 trees, over 61 hectares, to solve at least five issues:
- Flood prevention by slowing down water run-off that impacts communities further south
- Habitat creation to improve biodiversity, including much needed wetlands
- Creating ecological corridors, linking existing areas of woodland to allow wildlife to move around, as described in the Lawton Report ‘Making Space for Nature’
- Bringing private land into use for the community
- Improved access to green spaces to encourage health and wellbeing
The site is just north of Trent Park and follows the London Loop footpath along Salmon’s Brook, a water course that runs south through Edmonton where it joins the River Lea and eventually into the Thames.
Stephen Haywood from Thames21 points out the route of the new footpath along Salmon’s Brook
When I joined Graham, Ian, Stephen and Adam from Enfield Council and Thames21, they were walking the route and reviewing the habitat creation plans, which includes converting some existing farmland and incorporating it into the new footpath.
Graham and Ian from Enfield Council review the proposed site of a wetland pond
Initial work has already started but the planting begins in November and Thames21 will soon be looking for volunteers to help.
In 2019 Sir David Attenborough said: ‘We now live in one of the most nature depleted places on the planet. Nature urgently needs our help to recover – and it can be done. By joining up wild places and creating more across the UK we would improve our lives and help nature to flourish – because everything works better when it’s connected.’
It is great to see that Enfield Council and Thames21 have the vision and foresight to start addressing these urgent challenges.