River clean-up first phase nearing completion

25 Sep

The first phase of work to clear two decades worth of litter from a historic waterway has almost been completed in time for Rugby World Cup 2015.

As well as overseeing the removal of rubbish from the Duke of Northumberland's River, an expert ecologist has masterminded the cutting back of dead foliage to make the riverbank opposite Riverside Walk accessible to more people.

The first phase of the work came courtesy of the Mayor of London’s Big Green Fund, which paid for the work to be carried out with help from The Conservation Volunteers, Hounslow Highways and Hounslow Council staff.

The Duke of Northumberland's River, which connects the River Crane in Twickenham and the River Thames in Old Isleworth was carved out around 500 years ago by monks to power a water mill. But parts of the 2.5-mile river had become overgrown over 20 years of neglect.

But the waterway is home to a plethora of wildlife and Hounslow Council bid for a share of the Green Fund to rejuvenate the area, bringing foliage back under control as much of it had died, threatening an important urban ecosystem.

Councillor Ed Mayne, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Leisure, Hounslow Council, said: “This is the first phase of our plans to completely rejuvenate the Duke’s River. It’s steeped in history but it had become overgrown and parts of it were in a really bad state.

“We wanted to take action as the river had also become a magnet for antisocial behaviour and we were receiving a lot of complaints about fly-tipping. It was definitely time to address the problem. 

“The Green Fund gave us the opportunity to bring eco-experts in and get professional advice on what could be done to properly open up the pathway to the public and I’m delighted this has been done in time for Rugby World Cup 2015.

“Some people were worried that we were going to take the railings out. But there are no plans to do this.”

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