Four sofas and five mattresses among rubbish cleared from banks of River Roding at Ilford

Rubbish left by the River Roding. Picture: Paul Powlesland

Rubbish left by the River Roding. Picture: Paul Powlesland - Credit: Archant

Volunteers have cleared almost 170 bin bags worth of rubbish, five mattresses, four sofas and more from the banks of the River Roding in Ilford.

Friends of the River Roding found four sofas and five mattresses among the rubbish dumped on the riv

Friends of the River Roding found four sofas and five mattresses among the rubbish dumped on the river banks. Picture: Paul Powlesland - Credit: Archant

Organiser Paul Powlesland said it was the most rubbish “ever collected by a long way” since litter picks began four years ago.

He added Friends of the River Roding, a group of boaters and residents aiming to clear the land near the North Circular, previously found sex toys among the rubbish dumped by the river.

The group hopes that, once cleared, Transport for London will agree to reopen the land as a public pathway between Ilford and Barking.

Paul told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “One area was effectively being used as a rubbish tip.

Mattresses were found dumped near the river. Picture: Paul Powlesland

Mattresses were found dumped near the river. Picture: Paul Powlesland - Credit: Archant

“The rubbish came up to waist height and some of it dropped below the water line so it could potentially have been washed into the river, which is not good.

“We are doing this really because we want to reopen this path between Barking and Ilford as a walking route. Our eventual aim is for a beautiful, rubbish-free river.

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“Hopefully, lockdown dependent, we will be doing another one early next month and we will just keep doing this until we get rid of it all.”

Friends of the River Roding, which has a Facebook group with more than 1,000 members, has completed around a dozen litter picks so far.

Friends of the River Roding began litter picks four years ago. Picture: Paul Powlesland

Friends of the River Roding began litter picks four years ago. Picture: Paul Powlesland - Credit: Archant

Just over a year ago, the group set up the River Roding Trust, funded by a voluntary licence fee paid by boaters who live on the river.

The trust plans to use some of this money to repair fencing along the North Circular, in order to discourage future fly-tippers.

In April, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he “fully supports” the hard work the trust does for the community.

He said: “This work will provide a welcome complement to TfL’s significant investment in walking and cycling in the area.

The volunteers are hoping that once the area is cleared it can open as a public pathway between Ilfo

The volunteers are hoping that once the area is cleared it can open as a public pathway between Ilford and Barking. Picture: Paul Powlesland - Credit: Archant

“I have asked Transport for London to contact the environment teams in the local authorities the River Roding runs through; namely Epping Forest, Redbridge, Newham and Barking and Dagenham.

“They will ask them to make contact with the trust to offer assistance on any restoration works that they can support.”