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The section of the river and path we are focusing on runs from the Castle to Green Lanes in Haringey, where the river passes under the road and flows into Finsbury Park.  It is within the London Borough of Hackney.

To determine which parts of the New River path need restoration to reduce the risk of falls, and enable access for all in compliance with

the Equality Act 2010

Some sections of the New River path appear to have been neglected by Thames Water and are dangerous to walk on, especially after recent heavy rain. The worst and most dangerous part of the path is from Seven Sisters Road to Finsbury Park. Thames Water has assured us that they will restore this path and we are closely watching progress with this promise.


Some sections of the path were upgraded many years ago to make it safe for walkers, but all of the path has now got sunken areas, which become deep and muddy after rain. The exclusion of many people from walking on the path is, we believe, a breach of people's rights under the Equality Act 2010.  We have collected photographs of all sections of the path, and the only part which is safe to walk on after rain, is between the large children's playground and the Lordship Road Zebra Crossing.  This section is maintained by the London Borough of Hackney. 


Responsibility for maintenance of each section of the path lies with either Thames Water or the London Borough of Hackney, but there is little evidence of coordinated arrangements between responsible bodies for effective maintenance.

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To campaign for responsibility for the restoration of the New River path and river, to be passed to the body which can demonstrate the greatest competence in maintaining and developing wildlife areas, and creating an environment that is safe for the enjoyment of residents.  Responsibility could lay with the London Wildlife Trust, the London Borough of Hackney or Thames Water.

We are talking to Thames Water about maintenance of the river and path, but there is little evidence of responsibility being demonstrated for its maintenance. We will meet Thames Water and the London Wildlife Trust in October 2022 and will discuss with them a new solution for the future restoration of the path and maintenance of the river, in which Thames Water could pay LWT to maintain the river and path.


The well-maintained Woodberry Wetlands, run by the London Wildlife Trust, are side-by-side with the New River. This area of the river and path, e.g. near Newton Close (N4), is sometimes heavily contaminated, and ducks and swans wallow around in the filth and contamination. Their nests often contain plastics. 

To identify which parts of the New River are most contaminated and require the removal of rubbish to restore the natural wildlife environment.

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We believe that transfer of responsibility for the New River from Thames Water to the London Wildlife Trust and London Borough of Hackney may be the best solution for the future of the river.  We also need a short and medium-term plan because the river - especially from Lordship Road to Finsbury Park, Green Lanes - gets heavily contaminated with footballs, cans, glass, plastic bottles, carrier bags and even shoes.  There are also many large items that have been dumped in the river - shopping trolleys, buckets, a mattress and much else.

Unless there is an agreement to regularly clear of junk from the river, the situation will only get worse, and wildlife will be forced to live in a jungle of rubbish.

We need a joint reporting system between all agencies that have responsibility for the river and path, and an Action Plan, so that contamination of the river can be quickly identified, and action taken by Thames Water and the London Borough of Hackney with and the professional support of the London Wildlife Trust.

To carry out a sustained campaign to keep the New River path clean (Castle to Green Lanes).

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While we campaign for concerted action to create a safe path along the whole length of the river, from Castle to Finsbury Park, Green Lanes, we need to keep the path clean so that the rubbish does not blow into the water.  During recent storms, a lot of rubbish blew onto the path and into the river from busted rubbish sacks. 


At the moment, a worker employed by Berkeley Homes removes rubbish on the path from the Castle to the Newnton Close Bridge, but does not remove rubbish from the river.  We need to extend the cleaning operation from the Newton Bridge through to Seven Sisters Road, and then to Finsbury Park, Green Lanes.  There is often a considerable amount of rubbish in these sections. 


Volunteers regularly remove rubbish from the path and sometimes from the river. Local Councillors also organise rubbish collection events. To keep the path clean until the responsible bodies take action to ensure these roles are carried out regularly, we need teams of volunteers with clippers to regularly remove rubbish, until the accountable bodies employ local workers to keep the entire path of the Castle to Finsbury part clean and safe.

To ascertain why the New River near the Castle has become a sterile environment for river-bottom plants and what action can be taken to bring the river back to life.

The water in the New River from the Castle to Lordship Road has a green hue, and we have been advised that a chemical is added to the water to prevent to growth of blue-green algae, and to make it safer water sports. The this section of the New River runs into the West Reservoir


The dye shields the river from light and, consequently, plants do not grow on the river bottom. Use of the dye also reduces maintenance for this section of the river, at the expense of a thriving natural environment for wildlife. Surface growing water lilies do grow in one small area of this section of the New River. 


We are also concerned about the possible toxicity of the dye for fish, and we intend to investigate the necessity of the practice of adding dye to the water and see if changes can be made to this policy and practice.

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