Future of Walthamstow Wetlands secured


A five-year contract to manage Walthamstow Wetlands has been awarded to London Wildlife Trust (LWT) by London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF), the council has announced, securing the future of the east London-based nature reserve. 

The new management contract will begin on Monday 1 February 2021. It will see LWT's role expanded to oversee operation of the on-site visitor centre and café, in addition to its current work delivering outdoor and educational activities and managing the nature reserve. It also includes an option to extend the contract for a further five years.

The site opened to the public for the first time in October 2017 as a result of a partnership between Waltham Forest Council, LWT and Thames Water, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. As well as a nature reserve, it is a fully operational Thames Water facility supplying water to 3.5 million Londoners.

Ringing at Walthamstow Wetlands.

Gordon Scorer, Chief Executive at London Wildlife Trust, commented: "It is fantastic to be able to take up a new and expanded role at Walthamstow Wetlands and continue our partnership with Waltham Forest Council and Thames Water. London Wildlife Trust has already delivered over 4,000 volunteering days, welcomed over 5,000 schoolchildren and over 18,000 people in our education, conservation, ecology and visitor engagement activities. This new contract will allow us to continue our work engaging with the local community and providing a way for people to engage meaningfully with this unique operational and ecologically important green space."

Walthamstow Wetlands has seen more than one million visitors in its first three years and has been a vital resource for residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between March and July 2020, more than 330,000 visits were recorded, an increase of more than 140% compared to the same period the previous year.

With this in mind, LBWF has committed £2.86 million to support the site over the next 10 years. "Opening up this spectacular site for the public to enjoy is one of our proudest achievements in Waltham Forest, which is why I was so determined to keep it open during COVID-19," Cllr Paul Douglas, Cabinet Member for Culture, said. "We've been able to work with some fantastic partners on this project and I'd like to thank everyone who's been involved for their effort."