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New video gives birds-eye view of investment in city’s waterways

Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2022

River Soar

A NEW video has been released to showcase the beauty of Leicester’s waterways and give a stunning bird’s eye view of major recent investment in the city’s riverside.

Since 2015, Leicester City Council has been working alongside the Environment Agency and Canal & River Trust on an ambitious, multi-million-pound programme of improvements to local waterways, backed by £7.5million of Local Growth Fund investment through the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). The programme has delivered environmental improvements along Leicester’s waterways providing flood protection, enhancements to biodiversity and improved access.

The new four-minute video brings together drone footage highlighting just some of the 40 projects completed as part of the ambitious programme.

These include improvements to over 8km of riverside footpaths and canal towpaths; the creation of 2km of new cycle tracks; major improvements at key riverside locations such as Aylestone Meadows, Everards Meadow and the award-winning Ellis Meadows; and, the creation of new habitats for a range of wildlife at dozens of locations across the city

The programme also saw the installation of the new Bennion Footbridge to connect the city’s Sock Island to Belgrave along with new moorings at Friars Mill and Memory Lane Wharf for people visiting the city by boat.

Critically, the works have also helped safeguard over 1,800 homes from flood risk. This has been achieved through the creation of new wetlands to hold flood water at key locations, as well as major works to create a new flood water culvert beneath Loughborough Road Bridge.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Leicester boasts some beautiful riverside settings and through this ambitious partnership programme we have been able to make substantial investment to help realise the enormous potential of these areas.

“This new video gives a bird’s eye view of just some of the major improvements that have been achieved and showcases what a valuable asset we have in the city’s waterways.

“As well as improving the city’s waterside for visitors and providing valuable habitats for local wildlife, these important projects have also helped reduce flood risk to hundreds of homes in the city.

“I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved in delivering this major programme of improvements and for the tremendous support of our partners. As the video shows, Leicester’s fantastic waterways are now something the whole city can be proud of.”

Andy Reed OBE, Interim Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP), said: "These projects demonstrate how making investments in improving natural areas can act as a catalyst for creating local jobs and growth.

"Sustainability is a key part of the LLEP's new Economic Growth Strategy and this video shows how improvements to cycle tracks and footpaths are joining up the city and bringing people into destinations such as Everards Meadow."

Louise Cresswell, Area Director for the Environment Agency in the East Midlands, said: “We are very proud to have played our part in this work over the past few years which has combined flood protection alongside environmental improvements for a number of locations across the city of Leicester.

“The many projects show how local authorities and Government agencies can successfully work together to improve both the environment and to protect people and their properties.”

Phil Mulligan, regional director for the Canal & River Trust said: “This video showcases the amazing waterways in Leicester that people have on their doorstep.

"The River Soar and Grand Union Canal pass right through the heart of the city and some of Leicester’s busiest communities. Research shows that time spent by water helps us to feel happier and healthier.  We are pleased to have worked in partnership with Leicester City Council, LLEP and the Environment Agency to make these improvements happen and we hope this will support lots more people to feel the health and wellbeing benefits that a visit to the city’s beautiful waterways can bring.” 

The video can be viewed on Leicester City Council’s YouTube channel here