AN army of volunteers, including TV presenter Mel Giedroyc, cleared more than 18 tons of rubbish from the banks of the River Brent in Ealing.

Teams from LAGER Can - the Litter Action Group for Ealing Residents - and CURB (Clean Up The River Brent) worked over three weekends at the Abbey Estate open space in Alperton. 

Extra help was provided by humanitarian group Green S Welfare.
Alperton Liberal Democrat councillor Anton Georgiou said: "The heroic efforts of the  volunteers have totally transformed the River Brent banks here. I cannot understate the improvement.

"Unfortunately, uncertainty over land ownership and responsibility - as is often the case - meant rubbish was allowed to build up over a long period.

“Now that volunteers have done such an incredible job, it is essential that rubbish is never allowed to build up in this way again."

The litter was painstakingly removed from steep banks leading down to the river, which runs along the Brent/Ealing boundary.  

Cathy Swift, chair of Ealing-based LAGER Can, said: "We knew the rubbish in Alperton would eventually work its way down to Ealing, so we felt it was as much our problem as if it had been in the river in Ealing. 

“Rubbish is no respecter of borough boundaries!"

She hailed the work of Brent Council's contractor, Veolia, who took away the rubbish in a fleet of cage trucks after each of the six sessions and weighed it. 

Council neighbourhood manager Jon Ashby said the biggest haul for a single day tipped the scales at 11.7 tons and the total for the whole operation was 18.7 tons.

Mel Giedroyc was among the dozens of volunteers who worked for a combined total of 310 hours.  

"It was amazing," said the former Bake Off host.  "I loved rolling my sleeves up and getting stuck in." 

The tyres were dumped over a number of years at the site, off Queensbury Road, but Cathy Swift hopes the problem will now be reduced.  

"We believe the clean-ups in themselves will discourage further fly-tipping as the perpetrators will realise the area is being watched,” she said. 

“We will keep an eye on the area and raise the alarm in the event of future fly-tipping."

The Alperton haul was the biggest in the five-year history of LAGER Can and the more recently established CURB, but it wasn’t their first operation on the Brent. 

In June, a team waded into the river north of the A40 in Perivale to collect 148 tyres weighing two tons.