Posts made in April, 2020

Rewilding Arcadia Consultation Period

REWILDING ARCADIA The Thames Landscape Strategy is currently developing a new project Rewilding Arcadia. It was intended to carry out a period of scoping consultation to see whether our partners support the direction that the initiative proposes however, this has understandably been put on hold during the Covid-19 emergency.  In the meantime we have produced two presentations that outline some of the proposals that can be accessed from this webpage.  Please do note that the ideas are just TLS aspirations at present and consultation will be carried out as soon as is possible. Rewilding Arcadia is all about re-thing the floodplain as the climate emergency continues to change the river environment, increasing flood risk and altering established habits and recreational patterns. In the future, managing flood risk will be more than simply building flood walls. Traditional defences such as embankments and barriers will continue to have their place, but in the face of climate change and the need for sustainable approaches, the role of floodplains has to be revisited. Rewilding Arcadia sets out to restore some of the lost functions of a natural floodplain in order to re-connect wildlife and people with their river to demonstrate and promote an understanding of the multiple functions of the floodplain through a series of environmental measures and educational projects working in partnership with communities, authorities and practitioners At its heart, Rewilding Arcadia is about helping the river to reclaim its floodplain back in a managed and sustainable way, restoring the natural processes and habitats that once governed life along the Thames. In this way a whole series of additional recreational, economic and health benefits can be achieved.  The following presentation provides a brief introduction to an exciting new project called Rewilding Arcadia launched by Sir David Attenborough at the 25th anniversary of the Thames Landscape Strategy.   Click here for the 20 minute online presentation Click here for the 45 minute presentation Rewilding Arcadia will support a long-term sustainable management plan to encourage universal access, resilience, understanding and enjoyment of the Arcadian Thames floodplain by re-connecting people and wildlife with water, through the enhancement, conservation and rewilding of the natural floodplain.   Re-connecting people with the Natural Arcadian Thames Floodplain This aim sets out To re-discover, value and increase understanding about the connection between people with rivers and their floodplain using the principles of rewilding, integrated catchment management planning and climate change as a guide. It will use the role that water has in shaping the identity of communities at a local, regional and global level to demonstrate how communities, planners, policy makers and practitioners can adapt to and become more resilient to climate change and flood risk. Importantly it will encourage a range of communities and those dis-connected with the Thames to have a greater understanding of the unique history and function of the Thames floodplain through a series of education, life-long learning and outreach initiatives linked to the making space for water, flood risk, catchment management and Rewilding Arcadia processes. A series of education and outreach goals have been set to achieve this.   Using the Landscape To improve social inclusion by involving people from all areas through consultation, volunteering and events and To increase the recreational, health and economic value of the River Thames corridor It also sets out ways to improve infrastructure (including signage, interpretation, footpaths, cycleways, bridges and viewing places) in a way that fosters greater access to the floodplain and its wildlife, both in times of drought and flood and, its significance in terms of heritage, use and conservation Restoration of the Lost Floodplain. To...

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Covid-19 Response and Recovery

In this unprecedented time of uncertainty regarding public health and safety we need to consider the implications to the work of the Thames Landscape Strategy and its commitments to volunteer events, grants and other projects planned for 2020. At this current time the government has banned public gatherings and asks everyone work from home if at all possible; we have taken the decision to close the TLS office and work from home. We have also, along with our partners and community group friends, postponed or cancelled all up-coming meetings and gatherings for the immediate future (we will be monitoring the situation to see when we can start delivering events again and in the meantime will continue to produce a calendar for the autumn and winter)   Below is our policy for the current situation which will continue to evolve as the government rolls out its advice:   Thames Landscape Strategy Board Meetings Executive Review Board, Officers Steering Committee, Community Advisory Group meetings are suspended in terms of face-to-face – information sharing and discussion with and between partners will continue via email, phone and video conferencing.   External Meetings The Thames Landscape Strategy is a member of several partnership and strategic groups that meet throughout the year. Currently the policy for staff of many of our partner organisations is to attend external meetings remotely (email, skype etc). Several of our calendared partnership meetings have already changed to online conferencing so work on projects and planning will still be taking place.   Thames Landscape Strategy Events We have taken the difficult decision to cancel the Thames Landscape Strategy Annual Meeting in April. This event is an important aspect of the Strategy’s calendar as it provides an opportunity for networking and updating all our friends and partners on our Action Plan. However – the advice from the government about large indoor gatherings has meant that we need to postpone at this time. In terms of TLS commitment, it is expected that we carry out at least one of these events a year and currently the anticipation is that we will be able to reschedule in the autumn. The venue and guest speakers have also agreed to this approach.   Other Upcoming Events the TLS are Scheduled to Attend The Richmond May Fair has been postponed until the autumn. We will continue to monitor the situation regarding public and community events we were scheduled to attend in the Spring and Summer. Thames Tide Fest in the autumn – we will continue to follow the advice and decisions of the organisers nearer the time as to whether this festival will take place or in what capacity.   Projects and Volunteering The Thames Landscape Strategy has many commitments to volunteering and projects planned throughout this year. At this current time, group gatherings and non-essential works are cancelled. As such we have indefinitely suspended our volunteer programme. This of course leaves us in a difficult situation regarding funding and project delivery. Once the situation changes and we are in a better position to know what is possible, hopefully we will be able to re-arrange volunteer events for later in the year. We are in constant contact with the boroughs to determine what issues will need to be address once the lock down is lifted and we are spending this time working with partners and community groups on Recovery Plans. The TLS office is closed – the team are working hard from home on continuing the work of conserving the Arcadian Thames and are available on email and mobile phone (the office phone and post is not able...

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