Pennine Waterways News

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Trolley Hot Line

Shopping trolleys and canals go together like fish and chips. Nobody is quite sure why trolleys are attracted towards water but they will sometimes turn up in canals and rivers miles from the nearest supermarket!

Trolleys are not usually appreciated by boaters, many of whom have had the experience of becoming stuck on top of one.

Now British Waterways is giving you the chance to fight back with the opening of a new Trolley Hotline.

A call to 01923 201120 or a visit to will allow members of the public to report sightings of abandoned trolleys in British Waterways' canals and rivers.

This information will be used to help recover trolleys, to map hotspot areas and to identify a league table of the nation's least and most environmentally responsible retailers.

Later in 2009, a 'Golden Trolley Award' will be presented to the retailer showing best environmental management of its trolleys, while an 'Off Your Trolley Award' will be presented to the least environmentally responsible retailer.

It is costing BW £150,000 a year to remove around 3,000 trolleys from its network. BW estimates that, if stacked on on top of another, these trolleys would reach ten times as high as Canary Wharf!

BW chief Robin Evans says: "Shopping trolleys are symbolic of the mindless pollution that takes place along our canals and rivers every year and quite frankly we are fed up with having to clean up after other people.

"Whilst some retailers have taken real steps to clean up their act, there remains a problem with thousands of dumped trolleys in our waterways each year. You would think that supermarkets have a vested interest in not losing their trolleys, but it seems they just write many of them off each year rather than actually tackling the issue."

IWA Chairman Clive Henderson says: "Some of the country's biggest household names should be doing more to protect the nation's waterway environment. Abandoned shopping trolleys are unsightly, costly to remove, and spoil the outlook for the millions of people who visit the waterways each year. They also cause costly damage to boats. Removal of these trolleys would also have a wider beneficial effect for the waterways. There is evidence to suggest that an improved environment changes behaviour."

British Waterways has written to each of the main retailers asking them to enter into a not-for-profit cost recovery agreement for shopping trolleys that BW recovers on their behalf.

Hang on a moment - according to page 8 of DEFRA's "Guidance on the Management of Shopping Trolleys", published in 2007, "British Waterways has powers under section 9 of the British Waterways Act 1983 to remove shopping trolleys from inland waterways and recover any costs incurred in connection with their removal." So why isn't BW using the existing legislation? Why is BW messing about setting up new agreements to recover costs?

Help stamp out Trolley Folly - report trolleys in canals on 01923 201120 or at

Photo: BW

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