10 months ago

Clapham Common’s proposed wetland project

Friends of Clapham Common & Wild Clapham have a proposal for a new wetland site on the Common. We think it sounds pretty fantastic.

Over the past century the UK has lost around 90% of our wetland habitat, resulting in 10% of freshwater and wetland species being threatened with extinction. The Friends of Clapham Common and Wild Clapham are hoping to make a difference to this crisis with their new proposal for a wetland site on Clapham Common.

The 960 sq.m area is adjacent to Eagle Pond and would be curated to encourage amphibious species, aquatic invertebrates, specific butterfly and moth populations to thrive. It would be a fenced off space to protect it from human (and dogs!) from disturbing the delicate space but there is hope to build an accessible over-the-water viewing deck and wooden boardwalk to give people access and views of the wetland. Here’s what the organisations have said about the structures:

It is our hope that the boardwalk will provide an immersive experience for people wanting to view the full interior of the wetland without intruding on the habitat. The Wild Clapham design for the wildflower meadows employed a similar ethos to engage the public by providing pathways that take people through the meadows without disturbing them. The viewing deck will be constructed with the same materials and will provide over-the-water views of the small pond to see tadpoles and emerging dragon flies.”

One of the reasons this site has been chosen is because of its close proximity to Eagle Pond.Eagle Pond is useful because it is connected to a mains water supply which means that, even in periods of low rainfall and drought, it will never run dry as it can be topped up. This is great news for the proposed wetland site because already there is a pipe that runs from Eagle Pond to the proposed site. That means that, if drought occurs, water can be pumped into the new wetland site when needed. It will result in a much more stable area for the flora and fauna there, and hopefully become a haven even during warmer months.

So far the Common is home to a small number of frogs and toads and it is hoped that, with the right home waiting for them at this wetland, their numbers will grow and newts might join too. Banks, log piles and compost heaps will be installed to act as shelter. There is also hope that the numbers of dragonflies, mayflies, damselflies and 13 different species of butterflies and moths will benefit from the wetland- it is looking like it will, literally, be abuzz with life. Of course, this will all be mutually beneficial to the 30 species of aquatic and damp ground plants that will be planted in the site.

The project is still in its refinement phase, and the organisers are in talks with professionals and consultants to make sure that this plan really is as waterproof as possible. The plan will be formally submitted in April next year for the approval from Clapham Common Management Advisory Committee and Lambeth Council, with the hope that the project can be kicked off as early as Autumn 2024. Friends of Clapham Common will be part funding the wetland project, as well as -hopefully- a grant from environmental organisations.

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