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Spring clean on River Avon

We're appealing to Bath residents to help protect their local waterway, as the Environment Agency prepares to remove several abandoned cars and up to 150 shopping trolleys from the River Avon.

The abandoned vehicles and other objects were identified by the Environment Agency during a recent survey of the city's flood defences. They have to be removed because they are a hazard to navigation and reduce the effectiveness of the local flood alleviation scheme.

Divers will locate and harness the objects that include numerous mopeds and a huge stash of supermarket trolleys. A crane mounted on a 100-tonne barge will then be used to lift the obstructions on to the riverbank. The work will be focused between Windsor Bridge and Victoria Bridge and, weather permitting, is expected to be completed by the weekend. The clean-up will cost approximately £20,000.

Report your sightings

Matthew Symonds, boating liaison manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Navigation can be tricky along the River Avon, and no wonder given the amount of stuff that's down there. Whether they're items that have been stolen and dumped, or have accidentally made their way into the river, this kind of mindless activity costs a fortune to put right and spoils a beauty spot for everyone else.

“It only takes a few individuals to stop caring about the river for it to lose what makes it so special. We're appealing to Bath residents to look out for their river, and to report any sightings of people dumping objects into it to us or the police.”

Cars and shopping trolleys

“Large objects such as cars and shopping trolleys can cause serious problems when abandoned in a river. They can increase flood risk by disrupting flows and cause a hazard to navigation. There are 238 properties at flood risk in the vicinity of these blockages so it is important they are removed,” said an Environment Agency spokesman.

The work has been timed to minimise the cost. By using the same contractor brought in to remove the Destructor Bridge as part of a new riverside development, the Environment Agency has been able to achieve significant savings and efficiencies.

The discoveries will be the latest in a long list of lost, stolen, dumped and abandoned items removed from the country's canals and rivers in the past few months, from the seven safes found under a bridge in London's River Lee to countless bikes, mopeds and the odd fax machine across the 2,000 mile waterway network. All of these things pose hazards to boats, which can easily be damaged by unseen obstructions below the waterline.

Last Edited: 14 April 2015

photo of a location on the canals
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