Royal wedding: Westminster cleaners to collect 140 tonnes of rubbish
18:03 29 April 2011
A swift clean-up operation swung into action around the roads of Westminster moments after the bride and groom rode through the crowded streets in their horse-drawn carriage.
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As the focus of the public’s cheers turned to Buckingham Palace, groups of street cleaners came out in force to clear the debris left strewn behind along the royal wedding route.
Teams consisting of 15 sweepers, plus mechanical sweeping machines, flushing machines and dustcarts, from Westminster City Council’s waste management contractor Veolia Environmental Services set to work clearing the roads in approximately an hour.
A council spokesman said: “As soon as they were allowed on to the streets by the Metropolitan Police at 12.45pm, they began cleaning the area around Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square and Whitehall, finishing at around 1.50pm.
“The teams were cleaning anything and everything from flags and posters to bits of bunting, plus the general rubbish people leave on the streets, including sandwiches and drinks cans.”
Council bosses estimated that around 140 tonnes of rubbish will be collected over the course of the celebrations by 130 cleaning staff.
The council spokesman added: “We are well-used to big events such as New Year’s Eve, the Pope’s visit and the Notting Hill Carnival. The team is well-trained, it’s part and parcel of what the council does.”
Earlier, cleaning teams had worked through the night to prepare the roads for the world’s gaze, deep cleansing along Whitehall and clearing gullies along the procession route to prevent puddles from gathering.
The statue cleaning schedule was altered to ensure they were gleaming for the wedding day.
Convicted offenders were also said to be involved in deep cleaning of the subways of Hyde Park Corner ahead of the visiting crowds.
Ed Argar, cabinet member for city management, said: “With so many extra people in central London to help celebrate the wedding, we put in an extra effort to make sure the area was sparkling for this momentous event and was cleaned up as quickly as possible afterwards.”
The rubbish was expected to go to South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP), an incineration plant in Bermondsey, south London, where it will be incinerated and turned into electricity.