Wandle resources

As our restoration work on the Wandle continues, we hope this site will become a hub for knowledge and communication about the river.  Here’s a list of useful resources and knowledge-bases we’ve already gathered:

In late 2005, the Wandle Trust commissioned a full-river habitat survey from the Wild Trout Trust.  The full report is available on the Wild Trout Trust’s website:

In 2008, the Wild Trout Trust published their Chalkstream Habitat Manual: a guide to techniques for restoring biodiversity to chalkstreams like the Wandle.  Together with many other publications including dedicated Urban River Restoration guidelines, this can now be downloaded from the Wild Trout Trust’s website:

In January 2009, the London Rivers Action Plan was launched: an online tool developed by several partners including the Environment Agency, the GLA, Natural England and the Thames Rivers Restoration Trust.  The whole tool is hosted on the River Restoration Centre’s website:

As part of the Thames River Basin Management Plan to fulfil the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, the Environment Agency has produced a survey of all the structures on the Wandle and their implications for the health of the river. The whole report is downloadable as pdfs from the EA’s website:

Our local Environment Agency team has also created a quick-reference guide for anyone starting to think about river restoration projects on the Wandle.  Here are some of the issues they recommend considering, to help visualise and suggest types of projects that may be successfully approved.

When river restoration projects are being planned, all works in and around any waterway require permission from the Environment Agency to make sure that the risks of flood damage are minimised.

(NB: even if your project falls within these guidelines, you’ll still need formal EA permission to start work!)


Who to contact

  • Flood defence and drainage issues: Tom Sly

0207 091 4007 or tom.sly@environment-agency.gov.uk

  • Conservation: Joanna Heisse

012764 454 439 or joanna.heisse@environment-agency.gov.uk

  • Fisheries: Dave Bartlett

Email dave.bartlett@environment-agency.gov.uk   


Guidance on river restoration projects

The Environment Agency aspiration for river restoration projects along the River Wandle is that they should seek to address the following issues:

  • access to the river
  • habitat improvement (ie BAP habitats)
  • water quality improvement
  • does not increase flood risk

To help see if your project fits our aspirations, use this checklist:


Project checklist

NB: This is not an exhaustive list, it is an aid for project managers.

1. Does the design encourage debris trapping, obstruct flow routes and/or cause narrowing of the channel area?

If the answer is YES, then your project could cause a flood risk, which could stop your project in its tracks.  Call Tom Sly (above) to discuss ways to avoid this.

 2. Does the design provide bank enhancements? Consider soft engineering solutions such as:

  • coir fibre rolls pre-planted with emergent plants
  • natural banks
  • bank re-profiling

3. Does the design provide a natural buffer zone?

  • ideally 5-8m of habitat managed for wildlife
  • wetland marginal zone/ back waters

4. Does the design create in-stream diversity?

  • 2-stage channel
  • meanders
  • pool and riffle system (ratio 6x river width)

5. Does the design improve light shading on the river?

  • tree works
  • path works

6. Does the design improve access to the river?

  • for anglers
  • for cyclists / walkers
  • for the general public
  • for disabled people

7. Can the design benefit flood risk management?

  • increased flood defence standards
  • increased flood storage