Kingfisher sightings have increased in London over the last two decades thanks to ongoing efforts to rewild the city’s waterways
According to a report by the Catchment Partnership in London group (CpiL), which manages the city’s rivers, sightings of the orange and bluebirds have increased by 450 per cent since 2000, compared to the 20 years before.
Two inner-city boroughs, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets, which have both seen significant river restoration projects, showed large increases in Kingfisher sightings. Between 1980 and 2000, Lewisham reported only 27 sightings, while Tower Hamlets reported 11. Since 2000, though, Lewisham has now logged 209 and Tower Hamlets 130.
Kingfishers aren’t the only species to have seen an increase with Daubenton’s bats and grey wagtails also seeing an increase in sightings according to CpiL, which claims London’s river improvement programmes promote social inclusion because they happen in high and low-income areas.
David Webb from CpiL said, “Not only have these rewilded rivers made it easier for key wildlife species to live here, they have made it easier for people too
“This year’s lockdown showed just how important it is for public health that people have access to nature; river rewilding is an affordable way to bring high-quality blue-green space into built-up areas.”
London has approximately 400 miles of riverways, three-quarters of which are encased below ground in concrete and metal tubes, however, since 2000 more than 20 miles have been restored.
Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor for environment and energy of the Greater London Authority, said, “London’s rivers are an important indicator of the environmental health of the city
“Although there is a long way to go to make all London’s rivers clean and wildlife-rich, it’s great to see progress is being made to restore and rewild our rivers.”