Page last updated at 03:06 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Dumped trolley hotline launched

Abandoned shopping trolleys
British Waterways says many chains write off the cost of stolen trolleys

A hotline has been launched to help members of the public report abandoned shopping trolleys in canals and rivers.

British Waterways, which is organising the scheme, estimates 3,000 are dumped annually, and that fishing them out of its network costs £150,000 each year.

It says the hotline will be used to help recover trolleys, and name the supermarkets which own them.

Chief Executive Robin Evans said there was "much more the supermarket chains can do to take more responsibility".

'Fed up'

According to a survey of 1,991 people, commissioned by British Waterways and conducted by Opinium Research, 86% of people believed supermarkets should pay for dumped trolleys which they own to be recovered.

British Waterways, which maintains some 2,200 miles of canals and rivers across the UK, said it could spend the cash used to recover dumped trolleys on maintaining waterways and protecting wildlife.

Shopping trolleys are symbolic of the mindless pollution that takes place along our canals and rivers every year
Robin Evans
British Waterways

It urged supermarkets to introduce measures such as coin-operated trolleys, magnetic devices to prevent them leaving the store's grounds, or agreeing a deal to pay the costs of recovering trolleys.

Mr Evans said the annual bill for retrieving them amounted to just 18 minutes of profit from the UK's leading retailers, and that the 320 supermarkets located close to British Waterways' canals and rivers were not doing enough.

He said that while some chains had cleaned up their act, others were happy to write off the loss of their trolleys instead of tackling the issue.

He added: "Shopping trolleys are symbolic of the mindless pollution that takes place along our canals and rivers every year and quite frankly we are fed up with having to clean up after other people.

"And while some supermarket customers will always be intent on abandoning trolleys away from a store, there are a number of effective measures that can be better implemented that make both business as well as environmental sense."

Clive Henderson, chief executive of the charity the Inland Waterways Association, which is supporting the hotline, said dumped trolleys spoiled the experience of visiting canals and rivers for millions of people each year.

The Trolley Hotline can be contacted on on 01923 291120, and members of the public can report abandoned trolleys by visiting

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