Local community group celebrates successful series of clean-up events on the Regents Canal

Team of East London volunteers removes more than 10 tonnes of rubbish from drained section of the lower Regents Canal

The Lower Regents Coalition, a Thames21 affiliated East London community group, have just completed a series of clean-up events in the recently drained section of the Regents Canal between Ben Johnson Lock and Limehouse Basin in Tower Hamlets.  In early November 2014, the Canal & River Trust drained a 900 meter long (two acres) stretch of the canal for the first time in a century, to allow for repairs to the ageing canal walls.

The Lower Regents Coalition took swift advantage of this unique opportunity and implemented a plan to get into the empty canal bed and remove as much of the accumulated rubbish as possible. With safety equipment supplied by leading London waterway charity Thames21 and support from the Canal & River Trust, Moo Canoes and Kier Construction the group delivered eight volunteer clean-up events over a period of six weeks.

The hugely successful events attracted 172 volunteers who put in an amazing total of 860 volunteer hours.  Work was varied with some volunteers picking countless numbers of cans, plastic/glass bottles and plastic bags.  Others wrestled with large bulk rubbish including mattresses, traffic cones, shopping trolleys, car bonnets, baths, sinks, bikes and innumerous tyres. In total, the group removed approximately 38,000 cubic feet of rubbish, or over ten tonnes.

Molly Gadenz, a member of the Lower Regents Coalition, said: “We are overwhelmed by the support we received from the local community.  Our volunteers didn’t hesitate to get stuck in and work incredibly hard during every one of these crucial clean-up events. It shows that Londoners care about their waterways and are prepared to get involved with keeping them clean and healthy when they are offered a chance to do so. Also we are grateful for the immense support of Thames21, Canal & River Trust, Moo Canoes and Kier Construction.  Without them, we couldn’t have pulled this off.”

Next up for the Lower Regents Coalition is the launch of their “greening scheme” project: with a recently awarded grant from the Tower Hill Trust, their plan is to tackle a picturesque yet somewhat neglected stretch of the lower Regents near the Ragged School Museum and make both ecological and aesthetic improvements to the site with clean ups and plantings.

To find out more about the Lower Regents Coalition, its work and how to get involved, please contact: Dave Bedford, phone: 07771 666 003, Molly Gadenz, phone: 07717 752718 or e-mail lowerregentscoalition@gmail.com