The Welsh Harp Strategy Group has published a new joint vision for Brent Reservoir, one of London's most significant urban wild spaces, which includes steps to enhance biodiversity, reduce pollution and increase community access at the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Who is involved?
We care for the Welsh Harp's reservoir (Brent Reservoir), while the London boroughs of Brent and Barnet share responsibility for the land around the reservoir.
Accompanying us, the Vision is made up of representatives from Greater London Authority, London boroughs of Brent and Barnet, London Wildlife Trust and Thames21, the Welsh Harp Strategy Group was formed in 2019 to work together to create a Joint Vision for the future of the site as a place for wildlife and people.
To help inform the Vision, the group carried out a consultation asking people who use the Reservoir to say what they love about the site, what worries them about it, and ideas for how it should change in the future.
What does the Vision include?
The new Welsh Harp Joint Vision includes:
- The Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at the heart of the site will be better cared for and maintained, carefully balancing people's access and the needs of wildlife;
- The conservation and enhancement of the SSSI, Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation and Local Nature Reserve will build upon the sustained efforts of diverse individuals and organisations;
- Recent ‘joined-up' working by the various bodies and groups will be expanded to build a collaborative, open process of change and conservation;
- The Welsh Harp will be easily accessible to its surrounding communities and well-connected to both its local context, and to the wider city.
- A diverse range of people from across London will visit to connect with nature, access excellent sports, recreation and educational activities, come together as a community, and learn about the natural environment; and
- Outstanding facilities will be available to host and promote these activities, managed and facilitated by a unified and accountable management structure.
Ros Daniels, our director for London & South East, explains: “By working together, we can achieve so much more for the healthy and sustainable future of this incredibly important place for people and nature. The Welsh Harp and Brent Reservoir offer Londoner's a unique mix of biodiversity, sport, recreation and heritage, with huge benefits for health and wellbeing. But, in face of climate change and other external pressures, sustained and strategic action is needed to conserve and enhance its environmental quality and ecological value, and role in climate and flood resilience.
“The new Welsh Harp Joint Vision sets out our aims for the future, including steps to enhance biodiversity, reduce pollution and increase community access. Some actions can be easily implemented in the short term, for example further rubbish clearance, while others are likely to take longer, as they depend on additional funding or staff.”
An important step
Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, says: “The Welsh Harp is one of the capital's most important urban wildlife spaces and a vital way for Londoners to connect with nature. The Mayor and I welcome the new Welsh Harp Joint Vision. This collaborative approach will support the successful management of this outstanding open space as we work to build a better, greener London for all.”
Councillor Alan Schneiderman, Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change for Barnet Council, says: “The Welsh Harp is an amazing open space and the only Site of Special Scientific Interest within Barnet. It's great to see all the organisations responsible for the Welsh Harp coming together to produce a Joint Vision for its future. It's an important step in Barnet Council's work towards becoming a more sustainable borough, increasing biodiversity, and reaching net zero by 2042. We are committed to working with all our partners, conservation groups, residents, and the community to help take forward the vision of protecting and enhancing the Welsh Harp. This will benefit wildlife and residents, and help to put caring for people, our places, and the planet at the heart of what we do.”
Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure & Climate Action for Brent Council, says: “We are looking forward to working with local community groups to deliver a vision for Welsh Harp, which is a very unique open space. Developing it so that wildlife can continue to flourish, as well as increase the amount of people who can enjoy the space can only be done by working closely with local residents. We are excited to be working on this project and this is just the start of an ongoing collaborative process.”