Thames21 and Enfield Council triumph in global climate award

Volunteers clearing rubbish

Enfield Council and environmental charity Thames21 have been named as winners of the prestigious Ashden Awards for climate innovation for their joint work creating nature-based solutions to address flood risk and improve water quality in Enfield.

There was strong competition for the awards and Thames21 and Enfield Council were chosen from more than 200 applicants for their pioneering work in the category ‘Local Nature Recoverers’.

The annual Ashden Awards showcase the ground-breaking initiatives of climate pioneers that are showing what is possible in the shift to a fairer low carbon future. To maximise impact, the climate solutions charity also makes connections with funders, investors, policymakers and others, providing a global platform to showcase their work. The announcement was made at a global celebration in London on Tuesday 14 November.

Enfield Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Ergin Erbil, said: “We have made it our aim to protect our communities and to help them become more flood resilient by working with Thames21 and community groups to restore our waterways, create new natural features and increase awareness. Our long-standing partnership with Thames21 has helped to engage local people so there is much greater engagement and awareness of issues facing urban areas, particularly in the east of the borough, as a result of climate change.

“We are extremely proud of the work we have done, delivering new wetlands, boosting vegetations, planting thousands of trees and installing raingardens across the borough. By enhancing climate resilience in Enfield, we can protect homes, boost biodiversity and also improve access to our green and open spaces, so that all residents and visitors can benefit from this important and ongoing collaboration. I would like to extend my congratulations to the Watercourses Team at Enfield Council, Thames21, our Friends of Parks groups and all volunteers who are helping with our ambitious local nature recovery aims.”

Enfield Council has delivered, with the help of Thames21, 13 new wetlands, 130,000 newly planted trees within 80 hectares of publicly accessible native woodland and engagement with more than 5,000 volunteers since 2021.

Chris Coode, Thames21’s CEO, said: “We are very proud to have won this prestigious award together with our partner Enfield Council. I feel that this recognition is a testament to our joint work, but also a mandate to continue working on our vision to create healthy, clean rivers, as outlined in our Five Year Plan.

“We have been working with Enfield Council for more than a decade and this collaboration has been a great success. Through a collaborative effort with local residents and volunteers, we have restored rivers and created new ponds, woods and wetlands to build climate resilience in north London. We know that healthy rivers are key to mitigating the most acute effects of climate change, including flooding and water scarcity, as well as restoring biodiversity and creating beautiful blue-green spaces for people and wildlife.

“Overall, we want to rebuild the bond between communities and their rivers.  We unite communities in their understanding, enjoyment, advocacy, and stewardship of their rivers over the long term.  At the same time, we can deliver powerful social impacts like improved wellbeing, community cohesion, and greater equality of access to good quality green-blue spaces for people to enjoy.”

Enfield Council and Thames21 were among the winners and runners-up from Liverpool to Nairobi, Wales to Peru working in a range of industries, including greening our cities, transforming refugees’ livelihoods, training people for jobs linked to land management and protecting endangered forests.

Ashden CEO Ashok Sinha said: “This year’s Ashden Award winners prove that people are passionate about creating practical solutions to the climate emergency. Just look at what happens as a result: higher incomes, better health, stronger communities and the creation of new jobs. These brilliant solutions need serious backing from policymakers and investors.”

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