Diesel from derailed train pollutes ‘much loved’ River Quaggy

The River Quaggy has suffered a major diesel fuel spill for much of its lower stretch from Hither Green into Lewisham.

The section of the River Ravensbourne into Deptford Creek has also been affected.

Early on 4 February 2016, a private goods locomotive derailed at Hither Green sidings. An estimated 3-4,000 litres of diesel was spilt near the Hither Green ditch.

Much of the diesel has leached into the River Quaggy upstream of Manor Park, Lewisham.

The Environment Agency and the rail company’s emergency contractor, LCM Environmental, have been on site putting booms across the Quaggy in Manor Park.

Chair of the Quaggy Waterways Action Group, Paul de Zylva, said:

“The Quaggy is a much loved but much abused urban river that’s been mistreated for decades.

“The Quaggy faces diesel pollution as it flows through much of Lewisham.

“Diesel threatens everything from fish and kingfishers to the soil in the river banks.

“Thanks to the Environment Agency, the contractors and local people who acted fast.

“But the effects of this spill may last for months, maybe longer. Even with the pollution barriers, you can see the rainbow colouring of diesel on the waters. And you can’t mistake the smell.”

After flowing through Manor Park, the Quaggy follows the Lee High Road down into Lewisham where it runs behind Nando’s and beneath Lewisham Police Station before flowing alongside the Docklands Light Rail line through Brookmill Park – a great site for kingfishers – toward Deptford Creek and the Thames.

It is too soon to know the full impacts. It will take some time for all of the diesel to leach through the soil at Hither Green and into the river.

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