London Borough of Enfield

London Borough of Enfield London Borough of Enfield logo

A to Z of services

Pontoons and pulleys shift algae

Published Thursday, 31 July 2014

Enfield Council has swung into action to remove algae from the New River Loop following complaints from residents.

The recent hot weather has caused the borough’s waterways, especially areas surrounding the New River Loop in Gentleman’s Row, to suffer from a surge in the growth of green algae, otherwise known as Duck Weed, which makes the water look unsightly and can cause difficult for fish and other wildlife.
Ingenious parks staff created pontoons made of discarded timber pallets wrapped in a fine net and floated them down the river to push the weed towards staff with catch nets.  The clean-up operation means young Moorhens can swim safely in weed free water.
The recovered Duck Weed will be composted and used to nourish the soil in Enfield’s parks at a later date. Doing nothing or killing the algae with chemicals is not a practical solution because dying weed in the shallow river pulls oxygen from the water and harms fish life. 
The makeshift ‘pontoon’ has helped workers remove nearly all of the algae from the Gentleman’s Row stretch of the loop, and will shortly be moving onto other areas.
Cllr Chris Bond, Cabinet member for Environment said “Although naturally occurring, this algae is unsightly, and we often get complaints about it forming.
“We have used many different methods to try and reduce or remove it. This latest method, is completely natural quick and easy but seems to be doing the trick. We aim to remove as much as we can to keep the water clearer and benefit the fish and other wildlife that live in the water.
”It’s a great example of our parks staff finding an effective, cheap solution to a problem that’s dogged us for a while, and if we can use this technique elsewhere in the borough we’ll certainly consider it.”

More articles in the news archive.