FEARS that big money is going to ruin the marshes on the northern edge of Hackney have inspired a rally and walk.
Save Lea Marshes (SLM) is asking those who love the area to join a Walk for a Wild Marshes on Sunday 1 September 2013 to show support for retaining the marshes as wild places.
SLM claims the lower Lea Valley is under increasing threat of development and inappropriate use from the authorities.
The walk will start at Leyton Marsh, site of the Olympic basketball-training venue, which campaigners say has still not been appropriately restored. The walk will include some of the best-loved spots on the marshes and some that are under threat of enclosure, development or destruction in both Hackney and Waltham Forest.
Caroline Day, of SLM, said: “The concern before and during the Olympics was that areas on the marshes that had been used on a ‘temporary’ basis would not be restored to how they were .
“This fear has been borne out. The aim of the walk is to illustrate how much the community cherish their free access to the marshes and appreciate London’s vital green lung.”
Hackney resident Kev Dovey said: “The walk is important to show people the areas potentially affected by proposed development.”
Julian Cheyne, of Tower Hamlets, added: “The marshes are a vital resource for all East Londoners. The authorities seek to manage and monitor them in ways that reduce their wildness and uniqueness in order to make money out of them.”
Walthamstow resident Abigail Woodman said: “Being able to spend time in open green space is essential to a person’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
“Yet all over London, we are seeing those charged with managing green spaces on our behalf enclose them and build on them.
“We have to show the powers-that-be that we are not prepared to stand by and let them take our green spaces away from us.”
Hackney council said that it was one of six local authorities to receive “up to £420,000” from the Greater London Authority’s Big Green Fund for “eco-friendly infrastructure”.
The £6.5 million Walthamstow Wetlands project would “build upon the work of regeneration which has transformed the area in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park into one of Europe’s largest public green spaces”.
* Walk for a Wild Marshes starts at Lea Valley Ice Rink on Sunday 1 September 2013 at 1.30pm, finishing at the WaterWorks Centre Campsite Café, Lammas Road, Leyton E10 7NU. You can go in fancy dress: a prize will be given for the best nature costume.
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