Broomfield Wetlands

The wonderful world of wetlands — Broomfield Park

Jayne Mann


To mark World Wetlands Day, we want to celebrate Broomfield Park Wetland project in Enfield, North London.

The 3000m2 wetland, completed in 2019, was supported by the partnership between the Coca-Cola Foundation, WWF-UK and The Rivers Trust. Managed by Enfield Council and led by Thames21, it was primarily created to improve water quality in the nearby Pymmes Brook, a tributary of the Lower Lea - one of the most polluted rivers in the UK.

A surface water sewer running through Broomfield Park drains an urban area of 34 hectares and carries a range of pollutants, including metals, nutrients and hydrocarbons. Flow from the sewer pipe has been diverted into the newly constructed wetland, thereby mitigating the pollution before it reaches the nearby brook.

The project also realises a reduction in local flood risk as some of the surface runoff discharging across the park and the wider catchment during heavy and prolonged rainfall can be stored in the wetland and released slowly over time. The wetland continues to engage the local community, providing access to and enjoyment of a feature of high aesthetic and biodiversity value.

Since it was constructed in early 2019, the wetland has already delivered multiple benefits, including:

  • Improved Water Quality: With the flow from the sewer pipe now diverted through the wetland, it is estimated that approximately 200,000 m3 of water per year is now being cleaned through this natural, restorative approach.
  • Reduced Flood Risk: In recent years, both the Environment Agency and Enfield Council have investigated options to reduce flood risk in the local area using traditional large-scale flood defences. However, it wasn’t possible to identify a viable solution due to the urbanised nature of the catchment. Up to 2500m3 of water from heavy and prolonged rain events can now be stored in the wetland and released slowly over time, reducing flood risk for approximately 70 properties in the area.
  • 3000m2 of improved wildlife habitat: Wetland habitats are magnets for wildlife, and offer huge biodiversity benefits. The wetland has been planted with reeds, marginal flowers and grasses and the new aquatic habitat attracts amphibians, insects and birds.
  • Fostering a sense of community: Many volunteers took part in the creation of the wetlands and, now completed, it is estimated that the park will bring around 1,000 new visitors to the park per year, boosting local engagement with nature and improving mental and physical wellbeing.

The project has been highly commended in the Susdrain SuDs Awards, making it one of the top 4 initiatives of its kind in the country, whilst also being shortlisted for the 2020 Food and Drink Federation Awards and Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards.

Want to know more about wetlands?

Listen to this two-part podcast episode of Rambling About Rivers:

Part 1 (Why Wetlands): Featuring John Bryden, Senior Programmes Manager at Thames21, who talks about the incredible wetlands that the Trust has created, and find out more about the process of sculpting an entirely new habitat.

Part 2 (PeoplePower): Featuring Alison Archer from the Pymmes BrookERS: a group of community volunteers working together to restore their local waterways. Working in conjunction with Thames21, the Pymmes BrookERS were crucial to the creation of Broomfield Park Wetland.

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