This page lays out the history behind the Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership and what they are doing towards Local and National Biodiversity targets. You will also find regular updates of interesting projects that our partners have carried out in the Borough along with quarterly achievements, along with ways in which you can get involved.
In 1992 the UK Government signed the Rio Convention and committed themselves to halting biodiversity loss. In response to this the UK Government published the UK Biodiversity Action Plan 1994. This led to the production of 436 action plans between 1995 and 1999 to help many of the UK’s most threatened species recover. A review of the UK priority species list in 2007 identified 1,150 species and 65 habitats that met the BAP criteria at UK level.
For information up to March 2012 on the progress of local and national plans please visit the Biodiversity Action Recording System (BARS) website. This is an old website, but still has a lot of useful information on it. Up to date progress can be found on the new BARS website and local outputs will be displayed on this page.
Local Biodiversity Action Plans
There are 119 local biodiversity action partnerships and nine regional biodiversity that have been established across England. This has helped bring about a groundswell of activity and innovation to meet the challenges faced by our biodiversity.
The role of local biodiversity action plans
Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAP) identify priorities for biodiversity conservation at a local level. They work to deliver agreed actions and targets for priority habitats and species and can focus on locally important wildlife and sites. They aim to reflect the values of local people and provide a focus for local initiatives hope to further the wellbeing of their local areas. LBAPs, including the one in Lewisham are delivered through wide local partnerships that involve wildlife organisations, local authorities, businesses and other interested parties. More information about the achievements of LBAPs can be found at Natural England’s report, ‘The Achievements of local biodiversity partnerships in England.’
The functions of LBAPs are:
- To translate national targets for species and habitats into effective action at the local level,
- To identify targets for species and habitats important to the local area, reflecting the values of local people,
- To stimulate effective local partnerships to ensure programmes for biodiversity conservation are developed and maintained in the long term,
- To raise awareness of the need for biodiversity conservation and enhancement in the local context,
- To ensure opportunities for conservation and enhancement of biodiversity are promoted, understood and rooted in policies and decisions at the local level,
- To provide a basis for monitoring and evaluating local action for biodiversity priorities, at both national and local levels
Lewisham Biodiversity Action Plan
In 2007 the London Borough of Lewisham published A Natural Renaissance for Lewisham which set out the Borough’s Partnership’s aspirations for the immediate future regarding the conservation of nature across the Borough. The document also identifies the contribution of Lewisham’s natural environment to quality of life and sustainable development objectives within the Borough. For information on the progress of Lewisham’s Biodiversity Action Plan up to March 2012 please visit the London Borough of Lewisham’s pages on BARS. Further updates can be found below and at UK BARS.
Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership
The Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership was established in 1999 to develop an action plan for the Borough’s wildlife and natural environment. Presently, the Partnership consists of Lewisham Council, Glendale Managed Services, The Environment Agency, The Creekside Education Trust, Groundwork South East London, Greater London Authority, London Wildlife Trust, Horniman Museum and Gardens and, most importantly a range of local groups and individuals. All these groups have an interest in conserving and enhancing Lewisham’s Biodiversity.
The work of the Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership has operated in tandem with that of the London Biodiversity Partnership and has taken a considered approach in order that Lewisham’s Biodiversity Action Plan be visionary, pragmatic, achievable and inclusive.
The group meets 4 times a year to discuss their achievements and issues that may have arisen. A copy of the minutes of these meetings can be found below. If you are interested in joining the group please contact Jess Kyle
Minutes from Lewisham Biodiversity partnership meetings
The next Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership will be held on 1st May 2013, please contact Jess Kyle if you would like to get involved.
Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership minutes from 30th January 2013
Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership minutes from 24th October 2012
Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership minutes from 25th July 2012
Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership minutes from 25th April 2012
Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership minutes from 25th January 2012
October-December 2012 – Achievements
The biodiversity partnership has run 156 events engaging 1383 adults and 2273 children, including river wades, pond dipping, nature walks and life cycles.
The illusive & arguably the smallest UK bird, the Firecrest spotted on the Lewisham/Southwark border at Sydenham Hill. A 2012 MORI resident satisfaction survey shows highest level of satisfaction of all Council Services for Lewisham’s Parks and Open Spaces – 89%.
The Community Engagement and Park’s Improvement Strategy Officer for Beckenham Place Park post is under threat, the Mayor to decide on 13th February 2013 whether to delete the position.
3RiversCleanUp partnership announce that this festival, in its fifth year, will be running for 3 weeks from the 17th June until the 7th July 2013. ~follow them on twitter @3rcu #3rcu Photos of previous years activities can be seen here.
1st record of the invasive Asian clam discovered in Deptford Creek & Steatoda nobilis commonly known as the false widow spider found at Devonshire Road nature Reserve.
In 2012 the biodiversity partnership ran a total of 596 events engaging 6713 adults and 8322 children. This is a fantastic achievement and great credit goes to everyone involved.
July-September 2012 – Achievements
The biodiversity partnership has run 186 events engaging 3140 adults and 4153 children in the last 3 months. There have been numerous reports and sighting of endangered Hedgehogs in Green spaces between Forest Hill & Honor Oak Park. The 1st SE London record for the Scarce emerald damselfly [Red Data Book ‘near threatened’ species] identified on Blackheath. New river naturalisation project for Lewisham made possible by £10,000 bequest from the late Ken White who was a local historian and friend of Lewisham nature reserves. Birds of prey seem to be in abundance in Lewisham; Hobby, Kestrel, Sparrow hawks, Buzzard & Tawny owl sightings have all been reported.
April-June 2012 – Achievements
Marbled White & Ringlet butterflies seen in Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery. Survey shows more than 40,000 people a year are enjoying Ladywell Fields new river habitats than in 2010. Bumper year for Lesser Stag Beetle. Lewisham wins 14 Green Flag Awards & 6 Green Flag Community Awards for its Parks and Nature Reserves, this includes two new sites, Albion Millennium Green and Sydenham Gardens. Sparrowhawks fledging in Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery & a live Hedgehog witnessed in Forest Hill. Recent survey shows that 80% more people know about the Waterlink Way than in 2008
However, extensive and consistent vandalism to in-channel river enhancements at River Pool Linear Park is a big disappointment to conservation volunteers, wildlife charities and the Local Authority.
January-March 2012 – Achievements
This quarter 138 events were held by the partners of the Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership. These events attracted 1237 adults and 1031 children. These events included planting an orchard in Mayow Park in which the Friends planted 6 apple, 3 pear and 2 plum trees with the help of the London Orchard Project. Two Scouts joined the Friends of Downham Woodland Walk on one of their volunteer work days, so that they could work towards their Community badge. The Friends of Devonshire Road built a Green Oak Shelter – that has already been put in to use! Lewisham’s river enhancements have been chosen as one of 41 projects championed by the European Commission to celebrate the 3500 schemes supported by them over the last 20 years.
October-December 2011 – Achievements
This quarter 138 events were held by the partners of the Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership. These events attracted 1840 adults and 1588 children. This included Bruno Roubciek digging a pond in 24 hours at Albion Millennium Green. Sydenham Gardens planted 74m of hedgerow and the Horniman Museum planted 15 willow withies. The Forest Hill Society facilitated an Open Day at Dacres Wood nature reserve, with a view in the long run to create a Friends Group for the site. Cardiff may have had 63 plants in flower on New Years day, but a local botanist found 70 in Lewisham!
A focus on Downham Woodland Walk
The Woodland Walk is a long narrow strip of Ancient Woodland that runs for nearly a mile through the Downham estate. It appears on old maps as the boundary of Shroffold Farm, and thankfully was retained when the houses were built in the 1920s.
The woodland is now part of the Green Chain Walk and contains some magnificent old oak and ash trees, as well as relatively rare wild service trees. There are glades of bluebells in the spring, and several clumps of wood anemone. The wide variety of birds and insects there include woodpeckers, long tailed tits and stag beetles.
The Friends of the Woodland Walk were set up 12 years ago by a group of local residents who were concerned about the neglected state of the woodland. It had become a target for flytipping, graffiti and vandalism.
The Friends group arranged monthly work days to clear the accumulated rubbish and enlisted the help of Glendale to ensure that the bins were emptied and the gates locked at night. They obtained grants from Downham Pride, Living Spaces and the local Assembly and bought new benches and litter bins. New robust notice boards were installed to replace the old vandalised ones. Bat and bird boxes were made by pupils at Bonus Pastor, which borders the Woodland, and loggeries were created to encourage stag beetles and other insects. Recently, large sections of the path have been resurfaced and Green Chain / Capital Ring signage improved.
Now, the woods are used by several schools as well as large numbers of local people, whether they are walking their dogs, taking a short cut to school or shops or just enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. Our long term aim is to preserve the woodland as a local nature reserve by leaving dead wood as habitat for insects and fungus and brambles as shelter for birds and small mammals. However we are aware that the public want a safe and attractive environment in which to walk, so we do cut back undergrowth close to the path and plant native bulbs to add some spring colour.
Our work days continue on the last Sunday of each month, and new volunteers are always welcome, regardless of age or fitness level. We meet at one of the entrances to the woodland (phone 020 8698 6805 or check the notice boards to find which one) at 2pm for a couple of hours’ work. Gloves, tools, refreshments and friendly company are provided!
August-September 2011 – Achievements
This quarter 162 events were held by the partners of the London Biodiversity Partnership. These events attracted 2754 adults and 1957 children. This has included some great training events from the Rivers and People Project, some interesting walks in Ladywell and Brockley cemeteries. An area equivalent to 1.8 acres (just under 2 football pitches) of new living roof were given the go ahead, 7 house sparrow terraces, 40 swift & 29 bird boxes; 3 bat boxes and 128m of new hedgerow were delivered via planning conditions.
April-July 2011 – Achievements
This quarter 197 events were held by London Borough of Lewisham and their partners, These events engaged 3052 adults and 2978 children. This has included step building in Hither Green Triangle and some Permaculture Courses for kids with Grow Mayow. The Horniman Museum has also run some fantastic events for the family. The 3RiversCleanUp was also a fantastic success and attracted 500 volunteers, 1542 work hours equivalent to One years employment.
These are fantastic achievements and everyone involved deserves massive congratulations.
A focus on Grow Mayow
Grow Mayow Community Garden is a voluntary run project located in Mayow park Sydenham. It’s a place which cares for the environment – soil, plants, water and wildlife. Offers all people access to green, breathing space, for relaxation and leisure. Demonstrates practical ideas for healthy living – growing food, recycling waste, art and using Permaculture principles. Learning – through demonstrations and workshops.
Since then work has progressed massively on the site thanks to all the hard work of the volunteers. There are now a number of different areas within the site including an edible playground patch, a cottage garden, recycled garden, sensory patch and wildflower border.
In this last quarter alone, Grow Mayow have engaged almost 150 adults and over 70 children. All this fantastic hard work has been rewarded with the prestigious Green Flag Community Award.
January-March 2011 – Achievements
So far from the responses that we have had this quarter saw 60 events being held. These events engaged 660 adults and 408 children. Events included a Living Roof Semina , lessons in river restoration, the creation of a willow weave fence and the building of a bug hotel in Ladywell Fields.
A focus on Hither Green Community Association
October – December 2010 - Achievements
This quarter saw the highest response from local groups submitting their achievements that we have had since we started the monitoring, which is fantastic. I thought that you would like to know, from those outputs alone 63 events were held, engaging 585 adults and 396 children! 3 stag beetle loggeries were built, 200m of hedgerow was planted and a number of ponds were either created or worked on. All these outputs are helping the London Borough of Lewisham to meet and exceed targets set on BARS.