Express & Star

Anger as 'mindless people' dump pile of clothes into canal weeks after previous fly-tip

A Wolverhampton canal has been hit by fly-tippers for the second time in weeks after inconsiderate litter louts threw a huge pile of unwanted clothes into the water – proving a major threat to wildlife.

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The pile of unwanted clothes ditched in the Wyrley and Essington Canal at Wednesfield. Photo: Joe Sweeney/Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The clothing was ditched in the stretch of the Wyrley and Essington Canal between Moathouse Bridge and Wards Bridge at Wednesfield, which is part of a designated Local Nature Reserve (LNR), making it impossible for the large population of wading birds and wildlife to roam freely.

Just weeks ago a large quantity of building materials and household waste was dumped off Olinthus Bridge further along the same expanse of canal at nearby Ashmore Park, sparking anger and concern from environmentalists and residents, who say the problem is a regular occurence that is escalating rapidly.

A designated nature reserve since 2008, the canal is already home to swans, Canada geese, kingfishers and a variety of other animals.

An otter was even spotted and captured on camera in 2021 by local photographer Sarinder Joshua Duroch, who regularly photographs local wildlife. Evidence of badgers using the towpath has also been found.

Wednesfield North councillor Phil Bateman, who campaigned for the stretch of waterway to be made a designated LNR along with wife and fellow Wednesfield North councillor Mary, said: “This is indeed yet another very sad event and no doubt the vast majority of residents will inevitably feel anger and despair at the regularity with which these sort of actions take place.

“Tomorrow will likely once again bring tales of further dumping and further thoughtless actions along our beautiful canal.

"It’s incredibly hard to police a heritage infrastructure like the Wyrley and Essington Canal, which by its very nature is isolated and rural in its location.

“It is a popular and valuable resource for our community that is being blighted on a regular basis, so if anyone knows someone or sees anyone who is dumping rubbish in the canal, I would appeal for them to take a photo of the damage and report the matter to the police.

“We all enjoy the canal with its foliage and large and varied wildlife population of birds, animals and fish that call it home.

"It’s just a shame that a few mindless people out there spoil it for the majority of people who use it regularly."

A resident who lives near the Wednesfield village part of the canal, who did not wish to be named, said: “This is such a shame. I am a regular walker along the canal most days, and to see people just throwing their rubbish in there makes no sense.

"We are so lucky to have this beautiful environment on our doorstep and the selfish few are ruining it for everyone else – and not giving an ounce of thought to all the lovely wildlife. It’s disgraceful.”

Wednesfield Community Policing Team last month confirmed they would be carrying out regular patrols along the canal to protect its abundance of wildlife, following a series of recent incidents.

Since 2014, the Wyrley and Essington Canal has played host to the annual Wednesfield Canal Festival at Bentley Bridge, attracting thousands of canal enthusiasts and visitors every year.

The festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13, this year.