Save Lea Marshes Newsletter

Save Lea Marshes

Newsletter, July 2019

There’s been quite a lot going on across our marshy and surrounding landscape….


SLM and other local groups have been following the proposals for the new Lee Valley Ice Centre for some time, including through the consultation process in 2016. Now actual plans have been drawn up for a new twin-pad ice centre at Leyton Marsh, adjacent to the current “temporary” building built 34 years ago. In addition to the plans which have now gone up on the LVRPA website at, where you can read up on such headings as “Why is a new ice centre needed?” “How would the new ice centre support local communities to be more active?” “How would the new ice centre be sustainable and create more green space for local communities to enjoy?”, you can also find out how you can become involved, attend one of the drop-in events across Waltham Forest and Hackney over the summer (dates and venues are listed), and have your say by contributing your views electronically.

However, there has already been some controversy over the LVRPA’s consultation plans. SLM were invited to a meeting to discuss the plans on Wednesday 26 June in the afternoon, but somehow the wrong information, about an all-day consultation that day, were publicised, causing some consternation by other local-interest parties.


We are pleased to report that SLM has been successful in heading off the staging of the “Molecules on the Marshes” art project that would have seen 50,000 plus solar light bulbs being placed on Walthamstow Marshes, as part of the Borough of Culture project. The organisers have confirmed it will not take place there. SLM is generally supportive of the Borough of Culture. We just thought that this was one project that had not been thought through in terms of effect on the local wildlife.


This was held on Sunday 26 May. We started off with a little rain shower but after that the weather was fine. About 25 people came along holding decorated willow sticks. Sadly, there were no children to do the traditional “upturning”. SLM like to use the occasion to remember Katie Andrews, observe an ancient tradition and inform people of the latest issues concerning the marshes. We also used the event to finalise the winner of our first-ever “Green Blots Awards”. The winner was Pollution in the River Lea, helped by the fact that there was a pollution alert on that day resulting in the deaths of fishes. (See for the full poll results.) We were joined by Emma-Jane and Sarah, Mexican healing practitioners in the blessing of the land (which needs all the blessings it can get) and with music and song by Allegra, a Hackney-based singing sensation.


Last month’s newsletter was a bit Hackney-focused, so in keeping with SLM’s remit to bring people together across the marshes, we are giving a thumbs-up to one of our allied groups – Love Lea Bridge. The group has been active recently in concentrating on the Orient Way Pocket Park, on the corner of Orient Way and the Lea Bridge Road. It is a little oasis on an ex-brownfield site, established by Waltham Forest Council thirteen years ago, and is now under threat from the very same council that has declared a Climate Emergency and has won government funding for new pocket parks in the borough. Love Lea Bridge has been active in planting new bushes and a tree on the site – which faces the dour, omnipresent and Green Blots Awards runner-up development of 92 Lea Bridge Road. In the spirit of making the serious business of protesting fun, the group are regularly organising games such as Boules on Sundays. For more information and to get involved go to and they will update you with the activities planned.


Those journeying along the Lea towards Tottenham cannot have failed to see the new “blot on the landscape” at Tottenham Lock – a giant concrete lift shaft – marking another new housing development…

After the fire ..

The Environmental Agency (EA) have finally confirmed that the water run-off from a warehouse fire in Tottenham did kill hundreds of fish in the River Lea, according to experts who initially denied it was the cause. As reported in the Hackney Gazette, p.2, 27 July.


Following up on some the other recent events that have happened:

  • Laurie Elks delivered a cracking talk on the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. It is hoped that there will be another opportunity for more people to hear it and eventually something in print.
  • Hackney Marshes Users Group (HMUG), organised a walk and talk to what was the East Marsh Car Park. This was the temporary Olympic car park that has been left to provide a habitat for insects and reptiles. For a while it looked like nothing much was happening but gradually it is greening and providing a gravel base for a growing number of species that are less common elsewhere. This was the positive part of the outcome of the Planning Inspectorate Inquiry into East Marsh and the Cricket Pavilion on North Marsh, which both HMUG and SLM had concerns about.
  • The Hackney Society organised a wonderful and informative evening walk on 24 June, from Hackney Wick to the Princess of Wales, guided by Tree Musketeer Russell Miller and LVRPA ranger Dominic. This included: a detailed overview of the Wick Woodland, a stop-off for refreshments at the Tree Nursery, a look at the progress of the tree plantings around the Hackney Marshes, and a tour of the Middlesex Filter Beds, and finished up at the Princess of Wales.
  • Hackney Swifts Walk – organised by Hackney Swifts group – a street walk from the Elderfield pub in Elderfield Road E5 to the Crooked Billet pub in Upper Clapton, looking at the regular migrating swifts that still (fingers crossed) visit Hackney each year. People divided into groups allocated to different streets to note Swift activity and natural nests and Swift boxes to contribute to national monitoring of this declining species. For further information or to inform them of Swifts in your neighbourhood contact or


Last week’s Hackney Gazette (News, p.8, 20 June), “Council opposes giant advertising ball”, about plans by U.S. Madison Square Garden chiefs to display giant illuminated adverts on a proposed domed venue in Stratford, which are quite rightly being opposed by Hackney Council, as the dome will be in a residential area and be visible from numerous locations on Hackney Marshes and along the River Lea Valley. Some 50 people attended a consultation event hosted by the LLDC earlier this month and a “Stop MSG” campaign has been started.

This week’s Hackney Gazette Olympic story is “Show us the 40,000 jobs, say young people as they march on Olympic Park’s Here East”, (News, p.6, 27 June).

Both stories can be seen via the website


  • London Wildlife Festival, 9-11 August at the Walthamstow Wetlands – a two-day event to be held at Europe’s largest urban wetlands. Cost £10.00 adults and £6.00 children. Further details from
  • The latest Bat Conservation Trust Bat e-Bulletin is out for June and among the latest stories and an important new annual report on the National Bat Monitoring Programme 2018, there is also news of the next 2-day National Bat Conference to be held on 7-8 September at Nottingham University Jubilee Campus. For details go to
  • There is the next planning meeting for the litter-picking group on Tuesday 2 July at Second Home, 125-127 Mare Street, E8 3SJ. Further details from

One thought on “Save Lea Marshes Newsletter”

  1. Hi. Just to say my sister spelt her name Katy Andrews.
    Lovely to know she is remembered every year when beating the bounds.
    Kind regards
    Clare Andrews

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