Covid-19 delays River of Life II project to 2021

The project board has conducted a detailed and in depth analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on this, and with a sense of responsibility to the working teams and the construction crews, the board has decided to commence work in 2021 rather than this year. The board remains committed to the project and in the interim period will work to further enhance its impact. Our full statement can be read below.x

Earlier this year, Earth Trust submitted plans to create further wetlands along the bank of the Thames and the river Thame. Working with partner organisations, Church Farm Partnership and Hurst Water Meadow Trust, we will create significant new habitats at a landscape scale. Supporting greater biodiversity, the working wetlands will provide vital and healthy ecosystem services such as cleaner water and natural flood risk management.

Thanks to huge engagement from the public and support from local people, businesses and charities, we received planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council and were given permission to proceed. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a very real and very direct impact on our ability to complete the work according to our original time scale and with the attention this exciting project rightly deserves. We are still absolutely committed to the project, but in light of the current situation the project partners have made the difficult decision to postpone further work until early summer 2021.

The impact of the pandemic is likely to see increased costs associated with the project, which Earth Trust will need to be prepared for. While in a normal year Earth Trust could be confident of managing the River of Life II project, our income and operations have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We are likely to see increased costs associated with the project, which Earth Trust will need to be prepared for. Postponing will allow time to review and recover from the immediate impacts of Covid-19, and look forward to the opportunities the slightly longer timescales allow for. We can then make sure that we’re in the best practical and financial position to deliver this locally and environmentally important project.

On behalf of the River of Life Partnership we wish to thank everyone who has helped to get the project to this stage, including all of those who came to the public consultations and shared their feedback. We received so much support and passion for the project which has helped to secure the future of our wetland wildlife.


River of Life II is being funded by a Water Environment Grant through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

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