Wildlife under threat as takeover of Shadwell Basin by swimmers continues

The hundreds of unauthorised swimmers in Shadwell Basin have ignored polite requests not to swim in the old dock and have now decided to remodel it based on their own needs to the detriment of our local wildlife.

Under threat - Egyptian Geese at Shadwell Basin
Under threat – Egyptian Geese at Shadwell Basin

Bird platform moved by swimmers

LW received the message below yesterday in addition to several others.

“Did you see this evening that a group of people moved the pontoon in the middle of shadwell basin? Luckily there are some geese resting on it now but it gives me rage to think that thoughtless swimmers have untied and moved this to a less secure position in the basin – it also gives me rage when idiot swimmers swim up and jump on it! It should be a safe haven for our nesting birds!!! So angry but no idea what to do about this!! Any ideas?”

In the middle of Shadwell Basin is a small floating platform which is for the use of local wildlife. It is used by a variety of birds to rest and enjoy the sun and by some of them to rear their young.

This platform was moved yesterday by some of the swimmers for their own use.

Other swimmers have been busy jumping from the bridge into the Basin as pictured below.

Woman jumps from bridge in Shadwell Basin yesterday
Woman jumps from bridge in Shadwell Basin yesterday

Wonder how long it will be until someone jumps from the bridge and never surfaces until the MPS Marine Unit dredge their body up?

If people wish to ignore warnings and put their own lives at risk that is their choice.

The birds that live at Shadwell Basin do not have a choice. They live there because it is their home.

Under threat - Egyptian Geese at Shadwell Basin
Under threat – Egyptian Geese at Shadwell Basin

Wildlife under threat

The Egyptian Geese photographed are just one of the various varieties of wild birds that can be seen at Shadwell Basin all year round including Artic Terns, other types of geese, our local swans, Cormorants and many others. Even Kingfishers have been seen zooming across the water.

Grey Heron Shadwell Basin

And of course Mr Burns!

Great Crested Grebe nesting at Shadwell Basin
Great Crested Grebe nesting at Shadwell Basin

And the Great Crested Grebes.

All of these birds are now under threat from the uncontrolled swimming at Shadwell Basin.

Mayor John BIggs and Cllr Amina Ali at Shadwell Basin with signs
Mayor John BIggs and Cllr Amina Ali at Shadwell Basin with signs

LW Comment

As is usual with any issue in the borough the council is playing catch-up. The unauthorised swimmers at the Basin have been an issue for years and the council has done nothing until the last month.

In contrast the staff of Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre (SBOAC) have been doing their utmost to maintain order at the Basin for years despite having £25,000 of their council funding recently removed.

As Mike Wardle who runs the SBOAC has previously made clear he and his staff are torn between looking after the people – usually children – under their own care while on the Basin and trying to keep an eye on the unauthorised swimmers who dice with death, especially during the current heat wave.

Which means that there is a genuine risk that a serious accident will happen because with its current funding levels the SBOAC cannot do two things at the same time – especially when they are only partially funded to do one. They keep an eye out for the swimmers because nobody else does.

The simplest solution would be, with the agreement of the SBOAC, to significantly increase their funding so that they can then equip themselves with the resources to look after Shadwell Basin. They understand the problem better than anyone.

However much this costs it will be cheaper than another death at Shadwell Basin along with the destruction of our precious wildlife.

Many thanks to the numerous Wapping residents who helped with this post and continue to monitor Shadwell Basin.

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