Statement: Oil Spill in River Quaggy

The news of an oil spill close to the River Quaggy and surrounding parts of the natural environment at Hither Green in Lewisham, is devastating.

After a DBSchenker rail locomotive derailed at Hither Green at 2am on 4 February 2016, its fuel tank was punctured and released an approximated 3000 – 5000 litres of fuel into the ground. This fuel has subsequently found its way into the River Quaggy and travelled downstream through Manor Park, Brookmill Park and down to Deptford Creek. The incident was reported to the Environment Agency and DBSchenker have instructed LCM Environmental to clean the area.

Debbie Leach Chief Executive at Thames21 said: “While the short-term and long-term impacts to wildlife are as yet unclear, this oil spill has caused indisputable damage to the ecosystem of the River Quaggy and the Ravensbourne catchment. It is paramount that lessons are learned from this incident.

“At Thames21, we believe that putting rivers at the heart of the community is vital to achieving healthy rivers, happy people and building cohesion between people and wildlife. Despite the distressing nature of this incident, it is however encouraging to see the plethora of support and interest from locals in restoring the river to its former health.

“We are working together with those responsible for this environmental incident, as well as other environmental groups and members of the community, to prevent further damage to the environment on this particular stretch of affected river.”

Thames21 has asked the Environment Agency to undertake an unbiased sample of all sites and is hosting a clean up at Brookmill Park on Saturday, 27 February 2016 from 11am – 1pm.

While booms have been installed to prevent further spread of the diesel, unfortunately some wildlife has been affected. A local ornithologist rescued a moorhen that had been overwhelmed by the diesel. Thankfully the RSPCA were able to clean and rehome the bird upstream at Chislehurst.

The community is asked to:

  • Be vigilant of birds and fish in trouble and report it to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.
  • Not allow dogs into the river or to play with the booms as this can cause further damage to the river ecology and may cause illness to the dogs.
  • Support Thames21 on its work to improve the rivers in the Ravensbourne catchment by contacting Lawrence Beale-Collins for details of upcoming clean-ups elsewhere in the catchment.