Environment minister gets work underway on UK's first climate change park
A flood alleviation and river restoration project today (March 16) morphed into the UK's first ever climate change park.
The scheme, which around three years ago, was simply work to improve a waterway through a park and safeguard a handful of houses from flooding is now showcase for public and private cooperation.
Now work costing at least £1milion on Mayesbrook Park in the east London borough of Barking and Dagenham was officially started by environment minister Richard Benyon.
The park, pictures of which can be seen by clicking here, will remove flood risk from between five and 10 homes in the immediate area.
However, the work will also lower the risk of flooding further downstream on the Mayes Brook and create a naturally managed area.
Mr Benyon told edie.net: "This is an example of a community working with Government, at various levels, to create something special.
"It's good stewardship of a green space and I'm looking forward to 'bigging' it up wherever I go in the country."
Boris Johnson's environment advisor Isabel Dedring, added: "People will see why this delivers benefits for them.
Mrs Dedring speaking at the start of work on the UK's first climate change park
"It's turning adaptation from something that's 100 years away into something right here and now."
The work which will see an unsightly metal fence removed from around the brook, new tree planting and improved recreational space will be completed by 2012.
Further work will see the construction of a visitors centre and a café surrounding a climate change park with plant species specially chosen to mitigate environmental change, this work is due to be completed in 2014.
The work is a combined effort between Barking and Dagenham Council, the Environment Agency, London Wildlife Trust and insurers RSA.
Local people were heavily involved in deciding what they want to see in the revamped park with 5000 of them helping secure £400,000 for the park from the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, through his Help a London Park public vote.