Belu has formed a new partnership with Thames21 which aligns with our commitment to investing in nature based solutions and funding impact projects around UK waterways in pursuit of our purpose to change the way the world sees water.
In 2021, having been certified Carbon neutral to PAS 2060 standard for more than 10 years (tracking supply chain and organisational footprint, whilst supporting various carbon offset projects along the way), we decided to change our approach to carbon management, agreeing with a report from WWF and Boston Consulting Group that purchasing international carbon credits to offset remaining emissions was not the right thing to do. Belu has since moved to an investment model to fund work supporting conservation, biodiversity protection and water quality throughout the UK. Belu also partners with The River’s Trust and Canal & River Trust, as well as our main impact partner WaterAid, who receive 100% of our net profits. Curious to find out more about how the money flows? check out Belu’s impact report here.
Belu & Thames21
Belu will be supporting Thames21’s River Ravensbourne and Glassmill Pond restoration project, reducing siltation and allowing ecosystems to thrive.
Belu Co-CEO Charlotte Harrington noted, “As well as creating real impact we’re keen to raise awareness of the need to restore and protect London’s waterways, for communities’ health and wellbeing, as well as biodiversity and to improve water quality. A number of our hospitality customers are located along the Ravensbourne and our customers have been key to our recent work around understanding water footprinting and sustainability progress in our industry. We look forward to seeing the progress of this project and some long-term impact as a result of our partnership with Thames21.”
On working together, Tom Whitehead, Corporate Partnerships Manager for Thames21 said,
“Thames21 is delighted to be entering into partnership with Belu for the Glassmill Pond Restoration Project on the Ravensbourne. This much needed support will help us to restore a unique aquatic ecosystem, and to monitor gains in habitat and aquatic biodiversity. We admire Belu’s charitable, impactful and positive approach and are excited to be increasing climate resilience together.”
Thames21 is a British charity championing London’s waterways and working with local communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife.Thames21 developed from a partnership programme supported by Keep Britain Tidy, the Port of London Authority, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, British Waterways, The Corporation of London and 19 local authorities. The charity is now independent, and is funded by a wide variety of charitable trusts, companies and public funding. Each year around 7000 Thames21 volunteers help to clean London’s 400 mile network of rivers, streams and canals.
Thames21 work tirelessly engaging with the public, removing litter, creating new habitats for wildlife, introducing reedbeds to tackle pollutants, creating sustainable drainage solutions to reduce flood risk, monitoring the health of local rivers, campaigning against waterway pollutants and providing training and accreditation to community groups.
The River Ravensbourne and Glassmill Pond
The River Ravensbourne forms part of the River Thames, flowing from the London Borough of Bromley to Deptford. The area around the Ravensbourne is mainly urban and residential, however, it does flow through Church House Gardens in Bromley where Glassmill Pond is located. Glassmill Pond is one of the oldest sites in Bromley, associated with one of 11 mills on the Ravensbourne mentioned in the Doomsday Book and holds heritage value within the area.
In 1955 the Ravensbourne was diverted to flow through Glassmill Pond. In recent years this has brought challenges such as flood risk and barriers, making it difficult for wildlife to thrive. If left, the pond would eventually silt up completely, significantly reducing water movement and increasing flood risks. It also creates barriers to fish movement, as well as altering the natural flow of the river and reducing the presence of natural river habitats.
Thames21 have developed a restoration plan that includes an independent river channel. By separating the River Ravensbourne and Glassmill Pond, the sediment coming down the river won’t deposit in the pond and should slow the rate of siltation. The new river system will offer a unique ecosystem and the restored pond will add to the public amenity of the area and support diverse wildlife.
The removal and modification of the weirs will restore fish passages through this area of the Ravensbourne, contributing to the restoration of aquatic biodiversity. Local volunteers will also plant vegetation around the pond and on the newly created bund (containment system). Tree works have been taking place to allow more sunlight into the new channel to support vegetation growth.