Britain to restore lost waterways

 Medlock River, a "lost river", will be reclaimed

The Medlock River culvert – one of England’s “lost rivers” – will be reclaimed

The industrial Age brought many benefits to our society. But they came at great cost, particularly as we’re seeing now with our environment. One of these not so apparent costs was the covering over of natural rivers and waterways throughout Europe to make room for expansion. Now, to comply with the European Union Water Framework Directive which aims to breathe life back into natural waterways across the continent by 2027, hundreds of these will be brought back to life, many of them in Britain.

It’s believed that there are at least 20 lost rivers buried in London alone. These include the Tyburn, Effra and Fleet. Many of these will have to remain underground, due to the capital’s expansion. But a few have been rescued, including the river Quaggy, whose course was recently brought back to the surface. Since then it has become a major feature of Sutcliffe Park in Eltham, south London.

The river Quaggy has been restored to its former glory

The river Quaggy has been restored to its former glory

These lost river projects are backed by the Environment Agency which has pledged to restore 9,500 miles of river nationally with the help of other organizations.

The Medlock River – a 2 meter-wide channel brick-lined culvert running through the center of Manchester‘s Philips Park  that could pass for a section of the city’s sewage works – is actually one of the major rivers of north-west England. It’s now slated to be fully restored and reclaimed.

It’s encouraging to learn about this fascinating program and the positive environmental impact it’s already begun to have. We can only hope that more countries follow this example to work with Nature rather than beat it into submission.


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