Tidal Lea Ecology Report 2021 - 22

The ‘Cody Dock Tidal Lea Ecology Report’ is the result of thousands of environmental volunteer hours; it illustrates the remarkable levels of biodiversity we have found in and around the Tidal Lea, a once heavily industrialised river, then forgotten for generations.  

Hundreds of local people have contributed to the project which has helped contribute biological records to national open source provisions, and has helped build a better picture of the local area’s amazing biodiversity.

The report can be used as a resource to ensure the environmental conservation of the local area, and is a tool to be used by anyone interested in applying this form of community level science in other locations. It offers recommendations that can be enacted by stakeholders to ensure the continued protection of this incredible environment. We will be building on the work we’ve done so far to help everyone have a stake in the recovery of nature, through biodiversity monitoring and conservation action!

Published June 2022 by Gasworks Dock Partnership

Written & designed by the Cody Dock Environment & Ecology Team:

Benjamin Bishop, Citizen Science and Environment Manager
Rosie Clewett, Environment and Ecology Officer

This project was funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

Green Recovery Challenge Fund Logos


The true natural history of the Tidal Lea is a distant memory of long forgotten marshlands that will have been changed by humans many years before its industrialisation. The legacies of past heavy industries, disuse and the olympics have all been significant in forming the area’s unique character. The closure of sites and access to the river for over 30 years allowed wildlife to flourish.

The agenda to transform the area creating 40,000 new homes is progressing quickly and the area’s data deficiency has left little need to respond to the ecological needs of the area, and in an already challenging environment for nature has put local biodiversity at risk. These mounting pressures could have immense impacts on the local environment, just as, after years of damage the river begins to benefit from improvements to infrastructure such as the lee tunnel.

Cody Dock’s Environment and Ecology Team has led almost 700 volunteers in contributing towards biological recording and environmental restoration of the area. The project has contributed to projects such as BirdTrack for the British Trust of Ornithology (BTO), the NBMP for the Bat Conservation Trust, UKBMP for Butterfly Conservation, along with contributing data via iRecord directly to the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas. 

Through community level scientific monitoring we have created over 2700 records, documenting over 200 species of bird, mammal, plant and invertebrate within the locality of Cody Dock and the River Lea. This is a fraction of the biodiversity present here and represents the most recognisable and iconic groups of wildlife. These records include 38 threatened bird species, 37 globally declining species and 30 London Priority Species.

Our vision for the future is to expand this work building on the success of the project’s reach. This work is also driven by the need to include all members in contribution toward and governance of nature. Not only is access, in the traditional sense, key to people’s right to access to nature, but now more than ever is their access to discussions and decision making. We aim for our project to be an example of best practice, and with the time urgency facing the local area, making sure the community is involved at every stage. 

We would like to express our gratitude for all the help Cody Dock has received from our numerous enthusiastic volunteers, hard-working team members, partner organisations  and generous funders. We particularly appreciate our partnerships with London National Park City, The Cody Road and South Crescent Business Group, BA Architecture at University of Westminster, the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, Newham Community Neighbourhoods, St William Homes LLP, Poplar Union and Thames21. 

Thank you to Danesha Perryman who was an invaluable Environment Assistant, and all the passionate volunteers who have worked with us over the years, especially Khadijah Patel, Chloe Duffin, Simon Veal, Robbie Judkins, Karina Townsend, Frankie Robertson, Laura Watterson, Josiah Burdsall, Paul Day, Richard Elkan, Vanessa Levrat, Zainab Zeb, Ron Harris, Lori Chiriac, Lee Ellwood, Emily Jones, Paul Nebel, Milly O’Connor, Zoe Tsavdarides, Sharon Prince and Ross Baker.

Comments and Testimonies

“The Environment and Ecology volunteer programme at Cody Dock is a fantastic example of a community-led biological recording and monitoring project. Projects like this provide vital evidence to support local nature recovery. Importantly, the project also shares its data through the NBN Atlas, the UK’s open repository of biodiversity data. This ensures that every one of the wildlife records from Cody Dock is available for conservationists and researchers to reuse, both in the UK and globally, for the benefit of nature. The NBN Trust is proud to be involved in this inspirational project.”

Sophia Ratcliffe –  NBN Atlas Data Manager for National Biodiversity Network Trust


“Cody Dock is a much-needed haven for people and wildlife – and represents a remarkable transformation from an unloved, unused site. Seeing what the team there has already done – and plan to do – is truly inspiring and shows what can be achieved for urban nature when a community comes together with a mission in mind. The impact of projects like this can far outweigh their size and we need more of them so that people and wildlife can thrive side by side in our cities.”

Claire Sharrock – Assistant Producer, Silverback Films for The BBC Natural Histories Unit


“Cody Dock is an incredible community space for people and nature, and it is a pleasure working with them! We need more projects like this all across London National Park City to create an urban environment where everyone can thrive.”

Floree Zama-Neagra – Ranger Programme and Community Manager for London National Park City


“Driven by the people power of volunteers and the needs of the local community in response to the impacts of climate change, this project provides sustained activity, creating a deep impact for the wellbeing of its neighbourhood and its inhabitants.”

Hilary Jennings – Director of Happy Museums (for Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance Awards)