Six miles of cooking oil swamps the Grand Union Canal

Published: Thursday, 29 February 2024

FROM Alperton towards Little Venice cooking oil is covering the Grand Union Canal in London.

It is turning the navigation into thick greasy scum, Roger Fox reports.

 OilDumpedGUPurposely polluted

It is believed the canal has been purposely polluted with dumped cooking oil so has been declared a category three incident by  the Environment Agency, that puts the clean-up in the hands of the Canal & River Trust, with Ros Daniels, Director, London and South East Region of the Canal & River Trust telling:

"The incident is really distressing and the charity has to bear the brunt of the clean-up effort. When there are serious incidents the Environment Agency can step in—we have been working with them to help identify the pollutant.

"But with lesser incidents we have to pick up the bill and as a charity this is reaching tens of thousands of pounds."

Booms are being used by contractors to gather the oil in Paddington Basin, then it can be removed. Specialist contractors are working to contain and remove oil from the worst affected areas along the waterway.

Covers six miles

The oil pollution, it has been discovered, originated in Alperton and now covers six miles of waterway being taken by the flow and thought to be still spreading.

It has been discovered that it originated as oil used for takeaways and simply discarded into the canal in bulk, to save the cost of disposal.

It all looks a mess, is gathering around moored boats and seriously affecting wildlife.