Over the last
fifty years the environmental and amenity value of lakes in urban parks across Europe has
been reduced by poor water quality and bank erosion. Lake quality has steadily declined as
a result of increased pressures from human activity, pollution and the resulting imbalance
in the ecology of the lakes.
Wandsworth Borough Council
embarked on an ambitious programme of improvements to its parks and open spaces in 1993
but was hampered by the lack of technical information on how to tackle its decaying
shallow urban lakes.
The Council received European
Commission for LIFE funding for a three-year project entitled the London Lakes
Rehabilitation Project. Three lakes of varying size, in Battersea Park, Tooting Common and
King Georges Park, were chosen to demonstrate an approach to rehabilitation and
management which could be applied throughout Europe. The Life project culminated in a
successful European Conference in Battersea Park in 1997. Since then the project has won a
number of awards.
- Completion of the initial stages of physical
rehabilitation of the three lakes, including the improvement of water quality, lake
vegetation and bank areas;
- The development of a land-use management model for
urban lake areas which can subsequently be applied elsewhere;
- Demonstration of the benefits of such a scheme to
the public to gain their co-operation in the maintenance of environmental standards;
- Encouragement of the rehabilitation of similar
sites across Europe.
Achievements to date
Full details of actions taken and
the evaluation of their effectiveness are available on the projects Web site.
- The provision of boreholes
- Management of fish stocks
- Introduction of a reed bed
- Researching and managing waterfowl
We continue to implement the good practice we
discovered across further lakes in the borough through capital enhancement schemes.
We have ongoing water quality monitoring of the
lakes in the borough which directly influences the pro-active management of, in
particular, fish stocks and vegetation.
We are considering formulating a lakes management
contract to encompass all lakes in the borough. This will draw together, in a structured
way, all the ongoing monitoring and management of these areas and additionally may
consider basin areas on our smaller rivers.