A LITTER-STREWN area of woodland in Shepherd's Bush has been transformed into a pristine oasis by a team of dedicated clean-up volunteers.
Land at Silver Birch Sidings at Old Oak, near the Hythe Road industrial site, had been beset by an ugly build-up of plastic bags, bottles and other rubbish.
But despite the cold and rain, a hardy band of determined gloved helpers answered the community call and went to work for an afternoon, co-ordinated by the environmental regeneration charity Groundwork and Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
The initiative was part of the Capital Clean-up Scheme, now in its fifth year, in which the Mayor of London makes grants available to fund community projects.
More than 100 bags of waste were collected and wheel-barrowed along the canal and over a bridge before being picked up by council refuse trucks at a nearby industrial estate car park.
Before and after pictures show an impressive transformation of rubbish-strewn land into litter-free woods.
Alice Hemming, community projects officer at Groundwork, who was one of the spring-clean team, said that the rubbish haul had included an old supermarket trolley, car tyres, oil drums, bottles, a sleeping bag, discarded clothing, cans, plastic bags, blankets, catalogues and even an old rubber dinghy.
"This was a pilot launch event for the Clean-up Scheme," she said. "The idea is to link together voluntary groups to make a difference. There’s a real need for future clean-ups at the Silver Birch Sidings; there’s a lot to do there."
Much of the waste is thought to have accumulated from impromptu parties in the woodland, and from people who have been sleeping rough. The area is right beside the canal, but is only accessible via the canal path as it is hemmed in by railway lines at Old Oak and industrial estates.
A future community rubbish clean-up at Silver Birch Sidings may use a barge on the canal to make litter removal speedier, while officials working on the Crossrail project have offered to lift a skip over the perimeter fence to make clearance easier.
Each year the council spends £21.5million keeping the borough’s streets clean, taking away rubbish and collecting recycling.
* To help in future clean-ups at Silver Birch, and other sites, email email@example.com and you will be notified of dates. To download the H&F Report it mobile phone application visit www.lbhf.gov.uk/reportitapp