Organisations from across Nottingham are joining forces to install a series of floating ecosystems on the Nottingham & Beeston Canal as part of a drive to attract more wildlife into the city centre.
Waterways and wellbeing charity, the Canal & River Trust, and Nottingham City Council have brought together organisations from across the city to help install the ecosystems, designed and built by Biomatrix Water Solutions Ltd, to bring some colour to the canalside and attract more birds and bugs.
The ecosystems, which are being installed on sections of canal running alongside London Road and Canal Street, float on special pontoons anchored in place. The beds are planted up with a variety of plants, helping to soften the edges of the canal walls and give the waterway a more natural feel, bringing more life into the city.
The project will double the area of ecological islands on the city’s canals after 100m2 was installed in the past two years.
Funding for the beds has been secured by Nottingham City Council from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund. The ecosystems are being installed by Biomatrix with assistance from volunteers from Severn Trent Water, Nottingham BID, Aquavista, East Midlands Chamber, Games Workshop, Environment Agency, Natural England, LexisNexis and Ingeus, as well as individual volunteers.
The project is part of the Trust’s work to make the canal more attractive to people and wildlife and support the city’s carbon neutral ambitions. In recent years the charity’s volunteers have also planted a linear wildflower meadow along the canal running parallel with London Road. The meadow has brightened up a previously drab grass bank as well as attracting bees and other pollinating insects.
Richard Bennett, Heritage & Environment Manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Nottingham Beeston Canal is such an important green space running through the heart of the city but we want to make it even better for people and wildlife, supporting the city’s green ambitions.
“This project will make the canal a more attractive place, softening the edges, providing some colour and attracting wildlife into the heart of the city.
“As a charity we’re so grateful for the support from Nottingham City Council and all of the local organisations involved. With their help we’ll be able to provide valuable habitats for wildlife as well as encouraging more people living and working in Nottingham to feel the health and wellbeing benefits of being by water.”
Councillor Audra Wynter, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transport and Parks said: “It’s great to see some of the Transforming Cities money that we were able to successfully bid for being used to improve our city canal both for people and wildlife.
“Nottingham is proud to be a green city which protects and helps our wildlife to thrive, and I look forward to seeing more birds and insects along our canals.
“I want to thank the volunteers who are helping put in and look after these ecosystems, and to encourage local businesses to get involved in the future by sponsoring more of them.”
Galen Fulford, Managing Director of Biomatrix Water Solutions, said: “Through our work at Biomatrix, we aim to create an opportunity for people to reconnect with the natural world at the heart of the places where they live. Nature is already there and it is just waiting for us to give it a toehold so that it can thrive.
“Natural wetland water systems have been purifying Earth’s water for millennia. Nobody could survive if nature did not have the capacity to restore, revitalise, purify and cleanse water. The installation of further floating ecosystems in the Nottingham & Beeston Canal is an incredible opportunity to create these thriving habitats right within the city of Nottingham.”
The ecosystems will be cared for by the Trust’s volunteers and the charity hopes that local businesses will want to get involved and sponsor the installation of additional islands along the canal.
To find out more about the work of the Canal & River Trust, including how you can support through volunteering or making a donation go to www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
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