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22 October 18

Manor Road Park ‘re-opens’ following trans-formative river works

 

Manor Road Park was officially ‘re-opened’ on Monday 22 October by the Deputy Mayor of Luton Councillor Mark Rivers, Councillor Rachel Hopkins and Councillor Paul Castleman following the transformative improvement works to the River Lea.

 

 

The river restoration and park improvements were carried out by Affinity Water in collaboration with Luton Council, The Luton Lea River Catchment Partnership and The Environment Agency.

 

The river restoration work is part of a wider programme to restore globally rare chalk streams to their natural flow and help create sustainable habitats to allow fish, insects and plants to flourish. Chalk streams are globally rare habitats with just 240 of them in England, which the River Lea is a part of.

 

The river has been reconnected to the surrounding environment by removing the concrete steps and channel, which confined the river along the edge of the park behind iron railings. A new meandering river channel has been created reconnecting the river to its natural floodplain, which will help ease flood water further downstream during times of high flow. Riffles and pools were used in creating the new river channel.

 

Riffles are the shallower, faster-moving sections of a river and have cleaner gravel where fish like to spawn. Pools are the deep, slower, flowing areas enabling fish to rest. New river banks were also created to support a better variety of plants and wildlife.

 

Local residents also flocked to Manor Road Park on Monday to learn more about the improvements and to pick up free water saving devices from the Water Saving Squad in the Affinity Water marquee.

 

Affinity Water’s Asset Strategy Director, Marie Whaley said: “We are a community focused water company and are keen to work with local organisations and community groups to deliver on environmental projects to protect globally rare chalk streams. The river restoration work along Manor Road Park has been truly transformative and we hope that local residents will enjoy the new look and feel of their area.”

 

Cllr Mark Rivers, Deputy Mayor of Luton, said: It was great to come to Manor Park today to see the excellent changes that have taken place. The River Lea meanders through the park in the way it naturally should and the water is clear and bright. This is now a great space for all visitors to the park, people and wildlife alike. It’s a huge improvement and I’d like to congratulate all involved in the project.”

 

For more information about the work in Manor Road Park, please visit www.affinitywater.co.uk/riverlea

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