The River Thames Scheme's Ecological Efforts

Gadwall ducks flying

Wildlife and habitat surveys to help boost nature recovery

The River Thames Scheme (RTS) is an integrated scheme, reducing the risk of flooding to homes, businesses and infrastructure, in addition to improving access to quality green open space, a more sustainable travel network and increasing biodiversity by creating a network of high-quality wildlife habitats.

In line with our commitment to green infrastructure, the RTS is dedicated to protecting and enhancing wildlife through a comprehensive ecological survey programme. These surveys are vital for understanding current biodiversity and supporting the scheme's proposed design to minimise environmental impacts while maximising benefits for nature. By conducting thorough ecological assessments, the RTS aims to support vulnerable species and create high-quality habitats.

Key elements of the ongoing surveys include wintering bird surveys and habitat surveys that identify and enhance sites for wildlife. For example, as part of the projects survey programme we look at wintering bird surveys to monitor populations of gadwall and shoveler ducks, which are significant to the Southwest London Waterbodies Special Protection Area (SPA).

These surveys support the assessment of impacts and planning for the mitigation of potentially negative effects to protect these species. Recent habitat surveys have also identified areas where we can boost biodiversity opportunities, such as orchids and rare plants. This would ensure that the scheme supports and develops local ecosystems.

New wildlife habitats and areas for nature recovery will be established as part of the scheme, which will link with existing nature sites and wildlife corridors. This extensive nature recovery network will span the length of the new flood channel and beyond, supporting diverse habitats and improving biodiversity.

Additionally, species-specific surveys for great crested newts, reptiles, badgers, bats, and aquatic plants ensure that appropriate conservation measures are implemented. These surveys guide the scheme's proposed design to avoid critical habitats during construction and enhance them where possible.

The surveys provide valuable data that informs the creation of our green spaces. The scheme goals are not only to reduce the risk of flooding but also promotes nature recovery and connects people with nature.

For more information on the scheme, please visit the River Thames Scheme website.

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