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Local campaigners concerned that River Brent pollution continues and is damaging the environment

A local environmental group and residents across Ealing have raised more concern over recent pollution being seen and smelt in the River Brent. They say the pollution continues despite raising the issues on numerous occasions previously and want to see Ealing Council “taking action”.

Local campaigning group Clean Up The River Brent (CURB) has been monitoring the situation on a regular basis. In September they launched a “Save the eels of Ealing!” campaign having noticed unusual smells and debris in the river which was impacting species in the river but smells and debris has been continuing.

Ben Morris, founder of local campaign group (CURB), told EALING.NEWS: “Having noticed sewage fungus – horrible grey slimey tendrils on the riverbed – on Thursday in Hanwell last week, then on Sunday at Pitshanger, I finally had a moment to check upstream on Monday, and found two discharging outfalls in Alperton, just downstream from previous incidents in Sept 22 and Oct 21, so probably from related source.”

Campaigners are also asking Ealing Council to investigate further to help. They say there is an issue at Brent Lodge that has been known for years.

Mr Morris said: “Council could and should be taking action”.


Mr Morris added: “Quite likely food waste, again. Very bad for river water. Then on same day I got tip off from Hanwell Bridge of brown cloudy water, and I was able to identify the same outfall in Brent Lodge Park which has been reported so many times, discharging brown waste. Sadly no surprise. Thames Water were alerted to the first incident. Finally another correspondent photographed brown cloudy water by Bitterns Field, source unknown. This was truly a very bad day on the Brent.”

Councillor Athena Zissimos, Ealing Liberal Democrat spokesperson for the environment told EALING.NEWS: “The continued waste spillage into the River Brent, is a sad indictment of what happens when rules on river pollution are relaxed, and no-one is held to account. The Tory party was happy to tear up EU Regulations that governed waterways but have not replaced them with anything as stringent, so water companies take advantage.”

Councillor Zissimos added: “The Council points its finger at Thames Water who in turn points its finger at a ‘third party’, and no-one is in too much of a hurry to fix it, it seems, as the rules are more relaxed.”

In the previous incident in September,  Mr Morris told told the i newspaper: “The eels have a very high tolerance for low oxygen rivers. They are used to living at the bottom of silty sludgy rivers. If they come up to the top, that means there is serious problem. This is a tide of death going down this much-loved river.”

Musician and environmental campaigner Feargal Sharkey  added his concerns to what has happened in the River Brent by tweeting a message to raise awareness following a recent tweet from CURB to get help from the Environment Agency to come down and investigate.

Ealing Green Party chair Neil Reynolds told EALING.NEWS at the time: “The problem of polluted waterways and seas around the country, has increased in recent months because of the Conservative’s cavalier attitude the environment and lax regulation of water companies. The events of recent days shows that Hanwell and Southall is no exception, with species such as eels particularly badly hit.”

Mr Reynolds added: “There should be enforcement orders on companies like Thames Water to clean their own mess up. In the long-run the failed privatisation overseen by Conservative, coalition and Labour governments needs to be ended.”

A Thames Water spokesperson said in September: “We have received reports of a sewage discharge into the River Brent. Our network engineers are on site and believe this to be a third-party discharge due to a misconnection. Our team has stopped the discharge and will be investigating further.”

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