An urban wetland for wildlife and people through private-public partnership

WWT London - Kevin Peberdy
Published: 10 November 2015
Last edited: 28 March 2019
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London Wetland Centre is a re-creation of a historic wetland through an unusual partnership between the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) NGO, a water utility company, and a housing developer. Under this arrangement, around 3 hectares of the site was developed for housing, with proceeds used to create over 40 ha of natural wetlands. The site is managed by WWT, under a 125 year lease, as an important urban site for both wildlife and for people engagement


West and South Europe
Scale of implementation
Freshwater ecosystems
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Urban wetlands
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Cities and infrastructure
Sustainable financing
Urban planning
Watershed management
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness


WWT London Wetland Centre, London, United Kingdom


  • Development of a site of national wildlife conservation value and engaging over 200,000 annual visitors with wildlife in the heart of a capital city, including over 40,000 school children. It is also a prime location for business events for London corporates and politicians, enabling WWT to engagement positively with these important sectors.
  • The utility realised the value of the asset by its deal with the housing developer, and also benefits from the ‘green’ credentials through its association with the project..
  • This ‘enabling development’ which unlocked prime building land by enabling development of a large area of natural wetland habitat and associated infrastructure, was a pioneering concept and also showed that housing connected to an urban wildlife reserve could be sold at a premium

Contributed by

Kevin Peberdy