PLANS to create more natural wetland areas along the river Thames to bolster the numbers of rare animals are being shown to the public.

Environmental charity Earth Trust has launched a public consultation for its new re-wilding project, River of Life II.

The new plan is a follow-up to River of Life I, a scheme started in 2010 near Shillingford, where new habitats were created, including backwaters, ponds, wet woodland and fen.

River of Life II will see several new wetlands created, as well as new ponds in Little Wittenham Wood, home to one of the country’s most significant populations of great crested newts.

According to Earth Trust, newt populations have dramatically declined across the UK due to loss of habitat and these new ponds will help strengthen the population of newts and other amphibians as our climate changes in the future.

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Jayne Manley, Earth Trust CEO, said the charity was demonstrating the creative thinking and action needed to face climate change.

She said: “We need to radically rethink our approach to managing the Earth’s resources, such as water and soil, and accelerate projects that are going to sustain life on Earth, and we need your support with these incredible wetland creations.”

Oxford Mail:

Jayne Manley, CEO of Earth Trust.

A public exhibition about River of Life II will be held at venues in south Oxfordshire, where visitors can find out about the practical aspects of the project as well as the benefits to wildlife.

There will be an opportunity to talk with an Earth Trust staff member.

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Preparation work began this year and included discussions with local communities, negotiating access agreements, archaeological and ecological surveys, and refining designs.

This autumn Earth Trust will be submitting two separate planning applications, one for Little Wittenham Wood great crested newt ponds and one for the three riverside wetland areas.

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Planning applications will be submitted this autumn with a view to starting earthworks in summer 2020.

Before submitting planning applications to carry out the work, Earth Trust and partners would like feedback on their proposals.

Where you can find out more about River of Life

The dates and venues for the exhibition are as follows, with no need to book. Anyone can visit between 3pm and 7pm:

Dorchester Village Hall: Thursday, October 17

Long Wittenham Village Hall: Friday, October 18.

The Manor Pool Room, Little Wittenham: Monday, October 21.

Clifton Hampden Village Hall: Wednesday, October 23.