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South East Rivers Trust completes major project for World Wetlands Day

A 2000 m2 pollution filter has been constructed by the community organisation in the hopes of cleaning up the Hogsmill Chalk Stream. 

Carried out in partnership with Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, owner and manager of Hogsmill Local Nature Reserve, it means water systems through the popular green space will now benefit from the removal of pollutants that could damage ecosystems and local habitats. 

An example of a nature-based solution, water from the Green Lanes Stream will now be diverted through a sediment trap and two separate wetlands, bringing clean, filtered water to areas downstream of the Stepping Stones – a renowned beauty spot. In the past, streams were found to be suffering adversely from high levels of pollutants, with sources including urban road runoff, raw sewage discharge, and poorly connected plumbing. 

A series of planting days have now been announced by South East Rivers Trust [SERT], due to take place in spring, which will see residents given the chance to plant vegetation, with a focus on those that can help absorb and counter pollutants. Schools, community organisations, and individuals all have the opportunity to take part, with flora including yellow flag iris, ragged robin, purple loosestrife, and brooklime among the types of species that will be introduced. 

We are delighted that the construction phase of this important wetlands project has now been completed. It is destined to become a jewel in the crown of the Hogsmill Local Nature Reserve. The public has shown great enthusiasm for this project, and we will soon be calling on volunteers and community groups to add the plants that will really make the wetlands flourish as a magnet for wildlife. The water quality improvements that will result from the wetlands are designed to help the river become a healthier place for all, especially wildlife that thrive in a chalk stream, such as brown trout,’ said Dr Bella Davis, co-CEO of SERT.

‘The council is committed to protecting and enhancing biodiversity in our borough, as per our Biodiversity Action Plan 2020-30,’ added Cllr John Beckett, Chair of the Environment Committee at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council. ‘This partnership project with the South East Rivers Trust will help to ensure that the Hogsmill Local Nature Reserve is a place where nature can thrive; from woodpeckers, hedgehogs and bats – to species whose numbers have dwindled such as water voles, fish and eels. We know our residents cherish this Local Nature Reserve and I hope that many can join the community planting days, which are a unique opportunity to be part of this fantastic project.’

More on wetlands and water pollution: 

Sewage dumping in London increased five-fold in 2023

UK biodiversity market must have ‘clarity and governance’

Red alert on Global Targets for Nature as Defra ‘in hibernation’

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