FOG and the River Brent through Perivale Park

In the course of our recent river clean-up opposite Brentside School, we experienced the full effects of FOG (fat, oil and grease) and understood something further about the role of dead vegetation in the river.  Two sets of waders and a kayak were coated in a white, almost impossible-to-remove grease after being in the thick of it both near and in one case, in, a raft of assorted dead vegetation jammed up behind a fallen tree.  The plastic litter we were after had accumulated on top of this raft and in order to access it, we had to break up the vegetation with rakes.  This is when we released the hitherto-hidden FOG lurking there.  So, the raft, which was between 2 foot and 5 foot in depth, was acting as a highly successful filter trap keeping the FOG in one manageable place.  The question now is how the FOG should best be extracted from such a trap so that the vegetation can continue to act as a trap without getting entirely clogged up?  Suggestions welcome! It also begs the question of how the FOG got into the river in the first place. Misconnections? The practice of pouring fat, oil and grease down the plughole in the kitchen sink, down the toilet and even directly into the river? How can we best educate/litigate to prevent these practices altogether? Again, all suggestions are welcome. One thing is sure: we need to stop FOG-tipping.

53 Bags of rubbish!

The Greenford to Gurnell Greenwayers had a fun day today, removing all sorts of rubbish from the  River  Brent. This included one large butane tank (at least 25 Kg), a modern rental bike which was lurking there and 53 bags of very smelly rubbish. This was a canoe job, dislodging items which had become trapped behind a fallen tree and for waders, who were downstream waiting to catch them. Others cleaned the banks. Photos of these heroes are below.

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Gurnell-Greenford Greenwayers April Event

The next clean-up on the River Brent is taking place this Sunday 14th April starting at 1pm.  This event is suitable for all because it will consist of river bank litter-picking as well as in-channel work in waders to clear a large litter-berg which has built up behind a fallen tree.  So, gentle tasks as well as challenging ones – chacun à son goût.  But please don’t take the ‘goût’ too far – the water isn’t drinkable!

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The “Greenwayers” tidy up Costons Brook.

Costons Brook is one of two waterways in Perivale Park, being a tributary to the larger River Brent.  It arises from perhaps three streams flowing from the north-west of the park,  one apparently originating from the nearby  Metropolitan business park.  Tracing the others will require access to specialist maps! At any rate it flows out of a culvert near the children’s  playground in the park, with an aspect that has recently become very much more accessible now that the blackthorn trees on each bank have been removed.

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First London National Park City Network Forum.

Next year the London National Park City launches in July. As a prelude, the first forum, or get together of some of the many organisations in London that promote it with the ethos of a national park took place on November 7th. Perivale Park was represented on this occasion by the RedGreen Group, a small local residents group which, with the participation of Ealing council, is in the process of enhancing the park with spring bulb and summer fruit plantings as an adjunct to the major Greenford to Gurnell Greenway scheme which is helping to transforming the area.

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The Greenford-Gurnell Greenway starts to take shape.

Over the last week, a short stretch of Coston’s brook as it runs through Perivale Park has been transformed. The brook rises in the industrial estates north of the A40 in west Greenford and for its short course it emerges from culverts and then openly runs through the park before joining the river Brent close to  Greenford Bridge. For much of the last 30 years or so, its course through the park has been lined with impenetrable blackthorn. Although these produce delightful blossom in the spring, the blackthorn was effectively blocking access to the brook.

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A survey of the plant ( + bee & spider) life in Perivale West Meadows.

The Greenford to Gurnell Greenway is a project to transform underused and disconnected green space along the river Brent in West London connecting Greenford town centre to Gurnell Leisure centre. It is one of six initiatives to improve green spaces as part of the London National Park City project.

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