Carter Jonas has been appointed by the Earth Trust to provide planning expertise for the delivery of the environmental charity’s River of Life II project, which will create new wetland habitats along the River Thames and River Thame.
River of Life II will involve creating new wetland areas to improve the natural landscape and promote biodiversity. These physical works require planning permission and Carter Jonas will be responsible for preparing the Supporting Planning Statements, checking and submitting the necessary planning application documents and engaging with South Oxfordshire District Council.
The Earth Trust has partnered with local landowners Church Farm Partnership and The Hurst Water Meadow Trust with new water ecosystems proposed at three locations in South Oxfordshire – Long Wittenham, Little Wittenham and Dorchester-on-Thames. The new habitats will include 16 ponds and seven backwater channels plus wet woodland, which will connect to the River Thames to provide a refuge for fish.
River of Life II will incorporate the Earth Trust’s Clifton Meadow on the south bank of the River Thames, Church Farm north of Days Lock and Overy Mead on the banks of the River Thame. The proposed wetlands are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so will be sympathetic to their surrounds while creating much needed habitat for insects, birds, fish and other wildlife.
Little Wittenham Wood is home to one of the United Kingdom’s most significant populations of great crested newts and has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. Several new ponds will be created in the wood to strengthen the population and provide safe haven for other amphibians affected by climate change.
Huw Mellor, Partner, Carter Jonas, said:
“It is unusual for a planning consultant to work on a project where the end result is not a physical structure. River of Life II is an important project at a time when the environment is high in the public conscience. If we are successful, the wetland habitat created will look like it has always been a permanent part of the landscape in ten years’ time. I worked closely with the Earth Trust in the past, so I look forward to helping the organisation advance this ambitious project.”
Jayne Manley, Chief Executive, Earth Trust, said:
“Land next to rivers and streams can provide healthy life support systems for all life through biodiverse, functioning, natural freshwater ecosystems. To do this, land needs to be able to slow down and filter water and this can be done through the addition of wetland features such as ponds and water channels that are within the floodplain, some of which are connected to the river. The creation of these features alongside mosaics of other natural habitats such as woodland improve the quality of the landscape.”
River of Life II follows the success of the Earth Trust’s first River of Life project near Shillingford in South Oxfordshire.