Assembly Member Jenny Jones Visits Leyton Marsh

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Today Assembly member Jenny Jones visited Leyton Marsh to witness first hand the problems with the reinstatement of the area of marsh used for the construction of the Olympic basketball practice venue.

Campaigners from the Save Leyton Marsh group joined Jenny for a walk around the marsh, pointing out the contrast between the original undamaged land and the area that should have been reinstated to its original condition and instead is carpeted in monoculture turf. The turf clearly has not taken and can be manually picked up by hand. In many places it is extremely waterlogged, in stark contrast to the undeveloped areas of the land, which could lead to the turf rotting if no remedial action is taken to get rid of the standing water. This problem of standing water, clearly visible in the images, arises from the addition of a plastic membrane only 12cm from the surface which is clearly preventing drainage. Jenny was clearly shocked at the botched nature of the reinstatement efforts carried out by Nussli and STRI on the basis of an ODA plan approved by Waltham Forest Council and the LVRPA.

Save Leyton Marsh has pointed out all along that it would be impossible to restore the marsh to its ‘original condition’, which was not just a claim made by the ODA but was also a condition of Waltham Forest granting permission and Hackney Council putting in no objection to the plans for the basketball court. After being treated with absolute contempt at Waltham Forest Council, where our concerns regarding the reinstatement were blithely dismissed as ‘details’ for the officers to deal with, we have seen no evidence of the council officers taking an active role in assuring adequate reinstatement. They have not visited the marsh since the site visits by the ODA, which ended before the land was returned to public use.

Jenny will be writing to the authorities concerned to clarify why a monoculture turf, composed almost entirely of rye grass, exists on a site previously home to many wildflowers and funghi species. She will be supporting our demand that an Environmental Impact Assessment is carried out on the land in order to ascertain the extent of the damage and in order to design proper remediation. This remediation should include perforating the membrane, or even its removal altogether, as well as a sowing of the appropriate seeds to make our marsh beautiful again. Our group will also be supported by Jenny in our demand that the LVRPA put aside the funds to restore the marsh adequately and do not consider the marsh as a future site for a new larger Ice Centre. A feasibility study for such a facility is to be carried out for the ‘Lea Bridge Road’ area in the next two months.

Save Leyton Marsh demands

  • To get clarification about what wilflower seeds were used in what quantities on the turf and what the plans are if the seeds don’t germinate.
  • That the membrane is removed altogether, to allow drainage, and to undermine any future suggestion of building on the land again.
  • That the LVRPA and WF Council commit to restoring the marsh to its original condition including the infill, the turf, the planting of appropriate seeds as promised, committing the necessary funds (if necessary over and above the £65k agreed in the planning conditions and the £3k of ‘fines’ imposed on the ODA for not reinstating the land by the due date of 15th October).
  • That an independent assessment is carried out on Leyton Marsh now reinstatement has taken place to assess the environmental impact of the development.
  • That Leyton Marsh is categorically ruled out as being part of the feasibility study into the re-development of the Ice Centre as part of the LVRPA 2013-15 Business Plan.
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2 Responses to Assembly Member Jenny Jones Visits Leyton Marsh

  1. Kim says:

    It looks a right mess. What has Waltham forest done with all the money they said housing this temporary building was going to bring. At the moment I can’t see that much has been spent on looking after the marshes!

    • 1leytonmarshlover says:

      Actually the money went to the LVRPA; they promised £65,000 on ‘improvements’ but in many ways, the more we learn about ecology and the consequences of their ‘developments’, the more we understand we should leave nature alone to prosper. We think the money would be best spent on another ranger to tend to the marshes (for example removing invasive species rather than using herbicides) and educate people about the importance of the wildlife (as long as sufficient funds have been put aside for sorting out the mess on Leyton Marsh first).

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