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The de-culverted Quaggy (London, UK): A   multi-functional blue-green city space

The   Quaggy river is 5.6 km in length and crosses London’s Sutcliffe Park, a large   area of open parkland. For years, the Quaggy was culverted at Sutcliffe Park,   and local residents only became aware that a river was there when their homes   flooded more frequently as development in the floodplain increased.  From 2003-2007, a project to de-culvert the   Quaggy was implemented in a multi-disciplinary scheme combining flood risk   management with river restoration to benefit the local community.

The   project was part of the London Rivers Action Plan (2009) and entailed the   establishment of a new 'low-flow' meandering channel through the park,   following the Quaggy’s original alignment. The previous culvert was retained,   enabling it to take excess water in times of extreme flood events. Flow is   now regulated between the two water courses by a sluice. To provide further   flood water storage, the park itself was lowered and re-shaped to create a   floodplain capable of storing a maximum of 85,000 cubic metres of flood   water. A network of boardwalks, pathways and viewing points were designed to   encourage access to the river and ponds, all of which were an integral part   of the scheme. Furthermore, the project employed a community liaison officer,   interacting with schools, colleges and local charities, who also became   actively involved in the delivery of the project.

The   project has been successful in achieving a flood risk reduction for the   surrounding area, and in reconnecting people to nature (since opening the   park visits have increased by 73%). The implementation of the project as part   of a wider catchment scheme has enabled other habitat mitigation measures in   more constrained environments downstream to be implemented.                                                                          

River Quaggy before and after restoration. Photo: @xxx

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