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Graffiti still blights wall of river culvert
6:00am Tuesday 5th November 2013 in Echo News
THE Environment Agency has been criticised after it finally stumped up cash to remove graffiti, only for the money to run out halfway through the clean-up.
After years of refusing, the Environment Agency finally agreed to pay to remove graffiti from a Wickford culvert that contains the River Crouch, earlier this year.
But after agreeing a sum to remove the graffiti, the agency then ran out of cash halfway through the clean-up operation.
It has refused to put more cash into the project, leaving the job half done and councillors and campaigners in limbo.
Sandra Hillier, Tory chairman of Basildon Council’s Environment Scrutiny Committee, said: “I’m not satisfied with this.
“If the graffiti is that extensive they have run out of money, it shows it is a major problem and should be dealt with.”
The graffiti remains on part of the culvert that runs near the town centre and underneath a railway bridge.
The agency has not said if or when it will give the remainder of the cash.
The body, which looks after the country’s waterways, would not say how much it had spent so far to remove the eyesore, but claimed it had no obligation to clear it as it was not abusive in tone.
Basildon Council also distanced itself from the clean-up – claiming it was the Environment Agency’s responsibility – a situation that has left campaigners offering to complete the work themselves.
Roy Hart, from the River Crouch Conservation Trust, said: “It seems like both authorities are just passing the buck.
“The Environment Agency is not interested in cleaning up streams, which is just crazy.
“The trust has fished tyres out of the river before and we’ve tried to keep it in a good condition. We could try cleaning the graffiti ourselves.”
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “Our primary concern is to ensure the flowof water through the channel and we regularly clear the culvert of potential blockages so water can flow safely away to prevent flooding.
“The effectiveness of the channel is not affected by the addition of graffiti to the walls.
“Although cleaning graffiti is not one of our formal responsibilities, earlier this year we were able to identify some additional funding to remove some of it.”
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