The rubbish and dumped waste at the Teazle Wood entrance and the access road by Tesco has been a long-standing problem documented and recorded photographically for more than a decade. We started TWEEP (Teazle Wood Entrance Enhancement Project) in 2013 to concentrate on solving the litter problem and to improve the entrance to the woodland behind Tesco to make it attractive to visitors.
In 2015 Tesco got fully on board to help which is making a huge difference. Although there are still litter issues, both from the public dropping their rubbish and litter around Tesco’s land, it is much better than it was. We have had various volunteer days to improve the entrance area – the reports, history and photos below show the wonderful progress that has been made by all the volunteer groups in the last three years.
Our vision for this area of Teazle Wood is that it can become a delightful place for staff from local businesses to take their lunch breaks or unwind before/during/after work, and for the local residential community to come for picnics. and for everyone to enjoy the woodland setting next to the Rye Brook. It would set a new “tone” – and not only for the wood; it would also create a much better impression for Tesco and the Business Park by showing that this area is cared for and considered important; not unkempt, polluted and neglected as it is at present. We believe that businesses do care and have a responsibility for the area in which they are sited. This area is quite neglected generally; a recently-published report stated that 20% of children in North Leatherhead are classified as living below the poverty line, and it is clear that there is a pressing need to help improve the lives of those who live locally.
Surrey Wildlife Trust, Rye Brook river bank improvements, 17th April 2015
Jim Jones of Surrey Wildlife Trust led a group of volunteers at the Rye Brook along the south edge of Teazle Wood on 17th April, as part of an initiative by several organisations to clean up and improve the local river network. Jim and the team cleared rubbish and then made revetments and barriers to help the brook flow faster in places which will in time make deeper pools for fish. On the same day we also cleared up after some vandalism had taken place further into the wood.
Litter Clearing Day, 11th November 2014
Following a great cutting back and clearing day by a wonderful group from Unilever we could now get at the banks and into the Rye to pull out yet more rubbish, Much of it was buried under leaves and brambles.
Unilever Volunteering Day, 8th October 2014
A group of enthusiastic staff and Teazle Wood volunteers were supervised by Connor from the Lower Mole Countryside Project. Using hand and machine tools we cut back overhanging branches and thick undergrowth which were clogging the banks of the Rye Brook running along the Tesco access road. A path has now been opened up so at least we can get along there to keep it litter picked.
TWEEP – Teazle Wood Entrance Enhancement Project
In 2012 the rubbish was a particularly bad where a small stream runs parallel with the access road to the back of the Tesco store. We estimated that 80% of the rubbish in the stream were new unused bags from the home delivery bays. We also know that the cleaners often sweep the road and put the rubbish over the low wall into the stream. On many occasions ice has been dumped from the freezer boxes, which is illegal.
In Autumn 2012 a major clearance and litter pick was carried out by an army of wonderful volunteers from Wates. The Wates volunteers also repaired the vandalised brick pathway, painted out graffiti and installed a bench kindly donated by the Lower Mole Countryside Management Project, whose staff also directed the volunteers. Since then there have been regular weekly litter picks by Friends of Teazle Wood volunteers, but, despite this, sadly the situation did not improve, and if anything seemed to be get worse.
In April 2013 we invited various interested parties including the manger of Tesco, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Lower Mole Countryside Project and the Enviroment Agency to a meeting at the entrance to Teazle Wood to discuss our vision and what could be done in the short term to stop the litter problem. We agreed on some action points that included Tesco to provide a litter bin and that they would instruct the staff and cleaning operatives to take more responsibility for ensuring that rubbish did not come out of the store and if it did that they would clear it up properly. Despite many words and promises nothing has been done by Tesco to help stop any of these problems.
In Autumn 2013 we had a fantastic day with 47 staff from Unilever who kindly gave up their time to come and help clear the stream. We cut back many of the branches in order to get to the stream and they spent a day pulling out the years of acculmulated rubbish. It was wonderful to see the stream clear at last. But it was not to last.
At the start of 2014 the stream was running quite fast because of the all the rain we have had, but sadly yet again it was full of rubbish. Lucy and Caroline spent an afternoon in mid-January clearing it out and also managed to get the Tesco customer services manager who had been at the previous meeting and knows of the problem to have a look at the mounds of rubbish we had got out. We have promises yet again that something will be done.
THE RYE BROOK
The Rye Brook runs between the entrance road to Tesco from the roundabout with Kingston Road, and along the edge of Teazle Wood with the business park at Brook Way on the other side. At the moment, this stretch of the Rye is visibly overgrown and clogged by a build-up of dumped rubbish. The Rye Brook feeds into the River Mole. In 2003, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) became part of UK law, and according to the Environment Agency much of the River Mole’s Ecological Status is classified as ‘poor’. Polluted and rubbish-filled brooks like the Rye will of course be a contributory factor to this low classification; it is only when these are cleaned up that there is any chance that the River Mole will be able to improve its classification.
The first letter we sent out in 2013 TWEEP 1st letter
How can we make this a reality?
We feel that the only way to make this project happen and be sustainable on a long term basis is to involve a number of participants which include the following:
• Volunteers from Friends of Teazle Wood
• Tesco – locally and nationally
• Local residents and community groups (Youth Centre)
• Local adjacent businesses from the business park at Brook Way
• MVDC Officers and Councillors
• Environmental Health
• Ecology advisors
• Water Authorities
• Lower Mole Countryside Management Project
• Surrey Wildlife Trust
– Surrey Police
• Therfield School (backs onto Rye)
• West Hill School & Leatherhead Community Garden which back onto Rye
• Funding bodies