Biodiversity and nature conservation

Local Nature Recovery Plan (LNRP)

Our parks are home to many important plants and animals including bats, house sparrows and Britain’s rarest native tree, the black poplar. All these species are recognised and work is being done across London to help protect them.

Our Local Nature Recovery Plan (PDF 4.7mb) guides this work.

The Local Nature Recovery Plan has Hackney’s Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) as the foundation of a local nature recovery network.

Hackney is divided into five nature recovery areas. Each identifies opportunities for projects and interventions that can help make ecological connections that protect, add to, and link the SINC network. We can do this through methods such as:

  • making enhancements to parks
  • wildlife-friendly planting in amenity green-spaces
  • urban greening in new developments

Sites of importance for nature conservation

Sites of importance for nature conservation (SINCs) are areas designated for their importance for wildlife. The designation is also referred to as ‘non-statutory wildlife site’ or ‘local site’.

Bees and beekeeping

There are a number of beehives in Hackney including at Community Tree Nursery and Forest Garden on Hackney Marshes, Hackney City Farm and St Mary’s Secret Garden.

As well as honeybees, Hackney is home to a number of species of solitary bees and bumblebees, some of which are nationally rare. The brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis) is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species and has been recorded in Hackney. The hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) is a priority species in the Hackney BAP.


Improving biodiversity advice

A number of advice notes have been produced to provide information about managing green spaces for wildlife and following best practice in planning, development and project management.

Monitoring biodiversity

We work closely with Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) to record and monitor biodiversity in our borough.

Rewilding Hackney Marshes

North Marsh Habitats Project

The North Marsh Habitats Project began with a plan to enhance habitat around the new Hackney Marshes Pavilion. Local ecologist Russell Miller devised a scheme to add flower rich pollinator gardens and wet scrapes for other invertebrates.

Funded by the Greater London Authority’s Grow Back Greener Fund and Hackney Council, the project built two low nutrient substrate gardens designed by renowned wildlife gardener John Little. One demonstration garden sits at the south end of the pavilion whilst the other sits in a minibus parking bay in the car park, illustrating what can be done in a parking bay. Both feature a mix of recycled aggregates and sand as growing and nesting media for plants and pollinators.

A hoggin bee path was added next to the nearby cricket nets as another nesting substrate for ground nesting bees. To the east of the pavilion a wet scrape was created to provide wet, decaying logs for deadwood invertebrates which there are several rare flies on the marshes. Whitethroats have started feeding here, also utilising the nearby scrub.

Hedgehog homes and log piles add refugia for small mammals and amphibians to hibernate or hide from cats and dogs of which there are far too many on the marshes. To the north two more wet scrapes feed a new wildlife pond which in less than a year is already home to newts and damselflies with weasels, hedgehogs and a hobby all seen close by.

East of the pond one hectare of amenity sports grass has been added to the existing Metropolitan Site of Importance for Nature Conservation with 400 native trees planted in 4 ‘stepping stone’ copses creating a wider wildlife corridor around North Marsh. More loggeries add invertebrate, wood mouse and hedgehog homes and an experimental pollinator garden defines the gateway to Friends Bridge.

The Hackney Buzzline

The Hackney Buzzline presents a unique opportunity to engage residents in nature conservation. This will be key to Hackney’s Local Nature Recovery Plan. It will create a legacy of environmental care in the borough. The Hackney Buzzline aims to improve green infrastructure, enhancing residents’ quality of life and well-being. It creates opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and community interaction, fostering a stronger sense of neighbourhood belonging and pride.

We will create a flower-rich green corridor. It will link four parks (Mabley Green, Daubeney Fields, Millfields Park and Hackney Downs). The corridor will support, protect, and boost local bee and butterfly populations. We want to help residents enjoy the beauty of bees and butterflies, explore their local green spaces, become more active and connect with nature.

Grow Back Greener Fund 2022

The Grow Back Greener Fund 2022 has awarded £2m to 56 community projects across London to:

  • plant trees to provide shade
  • create and enhance green space
  • increase climate resilience

In partnership with London Fields User Group, we received some money from the Grow Back Greener Fund to improve the biodiversity offer across two areas of London Fields.

The project has significantly improved biodiversity and opportunities for ecology education, research, and volunteering.

In the North East area of the park, we improved a woodland area currently managed for wildlife and used as a green classroom. We used the grant to:

  • enhance hedging
  • plant more to support biodiversity
  • create habitats for various wildlife
  • maximize the site’s usage as a green classroom

In the South West area, we transformed an under-utilized space to boost biodiversity. We created various habitats such as:

  • wetland
  • meadow
  • woodland
  • wood-edge
  • post-industrial areas

We added planting around the edges to increase habitat and reduce disturbance.

A path into the area allows access and encourages use by young people as an ecology teaching resource. This is a significant gain for biodiversity since the park currently lacks a permanent habitat or water source.

Old Lea improvement projects

Page updated on: 7 June 2024

Parks and Green Spaces


Neighbourhoods and Housing Directorate
Hackney Service Centre
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E8 1DY


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