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Hackney residents left bemused after foam engulfs the River Lea

Stunned residents have taken to Twitter to post pictures of the bizarre scene when a mass of foam filled the River Lea over the weekend.

The giant white mass, which appeared near Hackney Marshes, is thought to be due to an industrial detergent spillage further up the river. The Environment Agency have not yet found the source of the problem, but it has now been cleared up.

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Seal numbers increasing in the Thames

Credit: ZSL

The number of seals in the Greater Thames Estuary has increased from 685 to 938 individuals since last year, according to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Conservationists and volunteers took to the skies, boarded boats, and tip-toed across marshland for the second year of the annual seal survey.

The Greater Thames Estuary is home to harbour seals and grey seals. Despite their close proximity to the capital, these populations are some of the least understood in the UK. But having witnessed declines of up to 90 per cent in some Scottish harbour seal populations, conservationists are now keen to keep a close eye on the smaller of the two species in the Greater Thames Estuary.

"With harbour seal numbers remaining stable and grey seal numbers more than doubling since last year, the result of this year's survey is a good indicator of the health of the Greater Thames Estuary.Grey seal numbers are increasing along the East coast, so it's not surprising that more are moving into the estuary. However, it is important that we use the same methodology to complete the survey every year in order to identify these changes, and investigate how this affects the harbour seal population."

– Joanna Barker, ZSL conservationist

Government funding for Kew Gardens to be protected

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has today announced that £1.5 million has been secured for the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew to continue its work.

The world-renowned scientific research will continue to receive its current levels of funding from the government until at least April next year.

Nick Clegg today announced he has secured £1.5 million to maintain funding for Kew Gardens. Credit: PA

In a speech to the State of Nature conference, the Deputy Prime Minister said:

I am so pleased to announce today that I have secured £1.5 million to maintain Government funding for Kew Gardens until at least April 2015 so its vital work can continue.

This is something that I know a lot of people have been campaigning for and is a significant step towards protecting the future of our environment.

– Nick Clegg

Wet wipes cause fatberg the size of a 747

The fatberg was the size of a Boeing 747 Credit: Thames Water

Thames Water workers have been blasting a fatberg the length of a Boeing 747 underneath a road in west London. A ‘fatberg’ – a congealed mass of fat, wet wipes and other litter wrongly put down drains and toilets – formed under a 80 metre stretch of Shepherd’s Bush Road.

"A team of sewer experts from the company fought the ‘berg all last week The immense, solid blockage needed to be broken up and removed from the sewer to prevent sewer flooding to nearby homes and business."

– Thames Water

But Shepherd's Bush is far from being the worst offender when it comes to fatbergs. Kingston-on-Thames had a 15-tonne fatberg removed from a sewer last year. But top of the fatberg league is Harrow, with a staggering 13,417 blockages reported in the last five years. Shepherd’s Bush trails behind with just 68.

“Wet wipes cling to the fat. Fat clings to the wipes. And pretty soon your fatberg is out of control and sewage is backing up into roads, gardens and in the worst cases flooding up through toilets and into homes.“We’ve found all sorts in this sewer – from tennis balls to planks of wood . It goes without saying they shouldn’t be in those pipes. London – bin it, don’t block it.”

– Dave Dennis, Thames Water sewer operations manager

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Room rents soar in the Capital

Room rents in London have risen more than twice as fast as budgets over the past five years according to new figures from Spareroom.com.

Renting a room has gone up by a quarter since 2009 Credit: Reuters

They've soared by 26 per cent while the amount tenants can afford to pay has gone up by just ten per cent.

In 2009, an average room set you back £549 per month, now it's £691.

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