The conservation charity Froglife are pleased to announce that they have secured a grant of £25,530 from Biffa Award; a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

The project which was awarded funding under Biffa Award’s Recreation theme, will create a wildlife pond at Ham Common Woods in Richmond and restore much loved local ponds in Southwark Park and Scout Park, Haringey. Froglife will work in partnership with the London boroughs of Richmond upon Thames, Southwark and Haringey to create and restore these wetlands in the capital. This habitat work will be delivered as part of Froglife’s HLF funded flagship project, London Dragon Finder, which is encouraging Londoners to help protect amphibians and reptiles across the city. Through surveying, mapping and creating new habitats, the project helps to conserve species like toads, frogs and newts – all of which are found in the bustling capital.

The project will improve and enhance the biodiversity value of an area of woodland at Ham Common Woods by creating two new ponds. It is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation, next to Richmond Park and a Local Nature Reserve.

At Scout park in Haringey the grant will be used to restore a small pond which has become heavily silted. This newly restored pond will enable a small population of great crested newts within the park to expand and colonise the newly restored pond. Scout Park has been used since 1928 for scouting activities and Froglife will work in partnership with North London Scout District to deliver the work.

In Southwark Park the grant will be used to restore a pond in the Wildlife Garden area of the park. In partnership with Southwark Council the plan is to replace the liner of a current pond that has silted up and is leaking and to increase the size of the pond. The work will enhance the park’s biodiversity and restore the wildlife pond to its former glory.

Since October 2013 the London Dragon Finder project has improved habitats at over forty sites across the capital. London Dragon Finder Project Manager, Alan Shearman, says “As our towns and cities have expanded the habitat available for wildlife has shrunk. But, with some careful planning, and help from willing volunteers, we can still create the right conditions for wildlife to thrive in urban areas”.

Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Pamela Fleming, said: “This is fantastic news for our beautiful borough and we’re delighted that our partnership work with Froglife has resulted in what will be a gorgeous wetland oasis courtesy of the funding provided by Biffa Award. The environment is a cornerstone of our work here at the Council and we know how much our natural habitats, parks and open green spaces mean to our residents.”

Southwark’s Ecology Officer Jon Best said: “Southwark Council is delighted to have worked with Froglife on the Dragon finder project. The new ponds are a great asset to urban nature conservation and they are already being used by frogs this year!”

Work is expected to be completed before the end of March in time for the breeding season.

Submitted by Alan Shearman