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Driftwood Service

Propellor fouled by floating debris

Driftwood can be a hazard to boats navigating on the Thames.  Fast ferries operating at up to 22 knots can suffer significant damage if they hit a tree trunk or old railway sleeper.  To try as far as possible to stop this happening, we operate 16 passive driftwood collectors (PDCs) to scoop up as much floating debris from the river as we can.

Passive Driftwood Collector (PDC)

The PDCs (which were invented by the PLA some twenty years ago) are placed at carefully chosen points on the river, where the current and tidal stream will carry the most driftwood.  They catch the floating debris which our driftwood craft collect for recycling and disposal.



Each year we pull more than 400 tonnes of assorted floating rubbish from the river, including branches and tree trunks, plastic bottles and traffic cones.  We occasionally recover cars that have been parked by the river and float into it on a rising tide, shopping trolleys and bicycles.


The driftwood team also works with the environmental charity, Thames 21  supporting more than 20 community foreshore clear ups every year.

News Article: Cleaning the River Together

Click here to view our news article Cleaning the River Together: PLA and Thames 21 Celebrate a Decade of Partnership