New weed boat arrives on River Lea to clean up waterways for Olympics

A new ‘weed harvesting’ boat has been launched to keep waterways in east London free of unsightly wild vegetation for the summer Olympics.

Now British Waterways has begun a public competition to name it.

The vessel has been brought in to stop weeds clogging up the tidal Lea River and its Bow Back tributaries that flow through the Olympics Park.

It will operate alongside its sister craft, the Wenville, both of which have been commissioned by British Waterways with �300,000 from the Environment Agency.

British Waterways enterprise manager Mark Blackwell said: “These weed boats will make sure the waterways are an attractive back-drop to the Olympic Park.

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“The rivers and canals in east London have been completely transformed by the Olympics and will be a green legacy afterwards.”

The boats will continue their ‘weed patrols’ after the Games to stop the waterways getting clogged up.

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Meanwhile, clean-up events are being staged by the Thames 21 charity with 4,000 volunteers helping to transform 50 locations along 20 miles of rivers and canals by July.

The charity’s chief executive Debbie Leach said: “The new weed boats are just in time to help clear invasive weed that can spread across the water surface in summer.”

Volunteers are being asked to send in suggestions for naming the new weed boat, with the winner invited to christen it after the Games. Suggested names, which have to be 10 letters or fewer to fit on the boat, can be emailed to

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