I took the photo above (click on it to see a larger version) shows workers once again clearing the blocked drains behind Morrison's supermarket in Erith. The vehicles have been a familiar sight to local residents for an exceedingly long time. The drains get blocked approximately once a week on average. The Thames Water drainage trucks are such frequent visitors that for many local residents, they have become part of the scenery. It is ironic that at the other end of Appold Street, adjacent to the old road bridge, there is a Thames Water pumping station, which hardly ever seems to get any official attention. It just goes to show that however much things change, they can also stay the same. I originally wrote about the drainage system that leads from Morrison's supermarket and into James Watt Way back in January 2012. I wrote: - "For the last couple of weeks, any shopper unfortunate to walk past the exterior of Erith Morrison's on the side of the building that has the windows into the restaurant area, and that contains the cash machines facing the car park cannot have missed one thing - the awesomely terrible pong. It was hard to describe in mere words; in the way that garlic is a highly concentrated onion, the stench was like that of an unflushed loo the morning after a night supping pints of Guinness, followed by an extra hot Brussels Sprout and Stilton Vindaloo. My nose hairs shrivelled at the overpowering smell. Anyway, the facilities team at Morrison's got a specialist drain company onto the problem. After sending remote controlled mobile "mole" cameras down the drains, they soon realised the problems were extensive. On Monday evening I saw the drainage engineers lowering a mole camera down a manhole in Wheatley Terrace Road; they spent several hours hunched over the monitors in their van, watching the small device inching its' way along, back towards the supermarket. The next day they were back, with a small fleet of vehicles parked adjacent to the cash machines in Morrison's car park. I asked one of the workers what was going on, and he said that the drainage pipe was blocked pretty much for its' entire length - which stretched from the main supermarket building all of the way to Wheatley Terrace Road - that's around a hundred yards of poo. No wonder it stank! All seems fine now, so the drainage engineers have obviously conquered the aromatic problem. Not a career I would choose, but as the old adage goes - where there's muck, there's brass". It would seem that in the intervening ten years, very little has actually changed. If you have any insight into this situation, please drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A report was published last week by The Royal College of Surgeons, in conjunction with Transport for London. The report highlighted the large number of serious injuries caused by users of electric scooters. Transport for London said that 98 people were badly hurt and three killed in the capital riding the battery-powered scooters, which are illegal to use on public roads and pavements. TfL said the number of casualties had increased dramatically, from one in 2017, and now accounted for three per cent of all people killed or seriously injured on London roads. It came as the first medical study into the injuries suffered by riders - and pedestrians they crash into – found that many suffered “life-changing” wounds, with almost a third requiring surgery. The research found 105 orthopaedic injuries in 83 patients treated at three London hospitals - Chelsea and Westminster, Charing Cross and St Mary’s – between March 1 and November 30, 2020. It was said that many injuries were sustained late at night, with the rider not wearing a helmet or reflective clothing. More than 40 per cent of riders admitted travelling above 15 mph, and a third of the crashes happened on pavements. Four pedestrians were among the injured – including one person who fell over an abandoned e-scooter. Almost three-quarters of injuries were caused by falls, with the remainder resulting from a collision with a moving vehicle or stationary object. Six patients were found to have been drinking or on drugs. TfL chiefs regard the use of privately owned e-scooters as akin to the “Wild West”. The latest data on e-scooter injuries was presented to its safety committee last week. They were banned from the Tube and wider TfL network, including all buses, due to fire safety concerns last December.But this resulted in 258 “interventions” by TfL enforcement officers in the first month to prevent passengers bringing them on to the Underground, with two being prosecuted. TfL said there were 13 incidents of “work-related violence and aggression” involving passengers with e-scooters between October and December, up from seven in the previous three months.