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Fly-tipping creates London flood-risk

The illegal dumping of sofas, fridges and mattresses in a south London river has put 450 residential and commercial properties at risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency (EA) has begun a massive clean up operation in Tooting and South Wimbledon that will cost over £1 million.

EA officers have the task of clearing debris from an 800 metre stretch of the River Graveney, which in parts of Tooting runs underground.

The Graveney Syphon, as it is known, has become severely blocked by rubbish where people have taken advantage of the open-air sections to illegally dump their unwanted household items.

In the event of a flood, these blockages could have a potentially devastating effect.

EA Improvements team leader Matthew Graham said: "Fly-tipping is a serious problem in any area, but dumping into rivers can impact its ability to cope with flooding - increasing the risk for properties and public in the area.

"This work is extremely expensive due to the high-risk nature of the clearance, and it is frustrating that valuable resources need to be spent rectifying this sort of problem."

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