Regent's Canal section 'cleanest in years' in Mile End after volunteers' efforts

Sophie Williams
The Canal and River Trust say that volunteers are helping keep the waters clean: Canal & River Trust

A section of Regent's Canal in Tower Hamlets is the cleanest it has been in years thanks to dedicated work by a group of volunteers who snared piles of rubbish with grappling hooks.

Ross Fogden, Canal & River Trust volunteer team leader, said the water in the Mile End section of the canal has seen dramatic improvement thanks to the tireless efforts of a team of dedicated volunteers.

The Canal & River Trust has been working with across London's entire canal network, with the section in Mile End seeing significant benefit from their work.

According to the charity, volunteers have spent 37,143 hours working on the capital’s canal over the past year.

Joe Coggins from The Canal & River Trust told the Standard: “Quite often we’ll go down there with volunteers and we’ll pull out all sorts. I remember going down there years ago and we pulled out motorcycles.

"I couldn’t believe it. I saw someone pull out a moped which took quite a few people to pull it out, it turned out that we pulled out five or six and I couldn’t believe that happens.

More people are using and living on the canal network (PA Archive/PA Images)

He added: “I was speaking to the guys down there the other week, they say its getting to the point where we’re getting volunteers down to come and help us but we’re not pulling out much at the moment.“

The Mile End section of the canal was drained a few years ago to repair the walls which has helped with the clean-up.

“It’s a case of keeping of top of it because people still unfortunately dump things into the river – general plastic things including packets and crisp bags.”

The clean-up has been boosted by an increase in volunteers who target specific spots of the canal which are usually local to them.

Many use grapple hooks to collect large items left in the water while others have taken the initiative to fill in potholes enabling people with prams to go down it.

“Bit by bit, it’s having an impact and that’s what we saw at the Mile End section of the canal,” Mr Coggins said.