‘Diesel’ leak into Harrow Lodge Park lake sparks cleanup operation, appeal for info

PUBLISHED: 12:30 14 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:07 14 November 2013

The lake has had a tough year. An outbreak of botulism in July is thought to have killed hundreds of birds (photo: Paul Bennett)

The lake has had a tough year. An outbreak of botulism in July is thought to have killed hundreds of birds (photo: Paul Bennett)


Environment bosses are appealing for information after an oil slick into the River Rom that left birds in the lake at Harrow Lodge Park surrounded by a layer of diesel.

Havering Council, the Environment Agency and Thames Water officials were alerted to the problem on Saturday and removed the majority of the oil using special equipment the following day.

But park users have complained this isn’t the first time the water has been polluted – and are calling for the river to be filtered before it enters the park and poses a threat to wildlife.

“It was very pungent and there was quite a lot of it,” said Jody Ganley, who was visiting the park with her eight-year-old daughter Grace on Saturday.

“When you looked at the water you could see it. My daughter was quite upset because there were some little coots in the rainbow spill.

“I can’t see why somebody would be dumping diesel.

“So many people who live over here don’t care about our wildlife.”

She added: “It’s not the first time it’s happened. If someone’s doing it on a regular basis, surely there must be some sort of filtration system that they can put in place before the water enters the lake.”

A council spokesman said no birds or animals had needed treatment after the leak.

Cllr Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for culture, towns and communities, said: “Sadly, this isn’t the first time this has happened.

“It’s very important people realise the harm this can do to the borough’s wildlife and environment.

“We’re working with the Environment Agency and Thames Water to find those responsible, and would like to ask anyone with information to report it to us as soon as possible.”

A Thames Water spokesman added: “Oil has somehow entered the water via our surface water drain, which is just meant for rainwater.

“We worked with the Environment Agency on Sunday to clean it up, and are investigating where it came from.”

The council is also asking the public to help with a “community clean-up” at the park on November 24 between 10am and 2pm. Meet in the car park off Warren Drive.

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