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First bikes; then Christmas Trees

Mike Penning with abandoned bikesGovernment minister Mike Penning MP inspects a stack of abandoned bikes dragged from the Thames by Port of London Authority salvage teams.

The UK’s shipping minister spent a morning earlier this month shadowing the river crews who recover waste - much of it a danger to vessels - which has been dumped in the Thames. The minister travelled on one of the PLA’s two specialist Driftwood craft which are used to lift heavier objects from the water.

He also visited one of the port authority’s nine passive debris collectors – moored cages which collect floating rubbish from the river at key points in central London.

Each year, the Port of London Authority removes between 40 and 50 artic lorry loads of rubbish from the river, which ranges from plastic bottles, paint drums and traffic cones, to shopping trolleys, cars and motorcycles. More unusual items include portable loos and, at the beginning of each year, around 20 dumped Christmas trees