London clean-up operation under way after enormous queue to see Queen Elizabeth II Lying-In-State

London clean-up operation under way after enormous queue to see Queen Elizabeth II Lying-In-State
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Aden-Jay Wood

By Aden-Jay Wood

Published: 19/09/2022

- 18:21

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:39

Crowds also flocked to the capital to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II during her state funeral on Monday

The clean-up operation has begun after hundreds of thousands of people flocked to London for the Queen’s Lying-In-State and funeral.

In Westminster, central London, street cleansing vehicles have been dressed in black ribbons and council workers have worn black bows as teams have swung into action to clean up litter and remove sand that had been spread on roads.

And in Southwark, where the queue for Queen Elizabeth II's Lying-In-State in Westminster Hall began miles away in Southwark Park, council officials said they had completed a full inspection of the line’s route through the borough and cleared any litter.

Southwark Council said that, after a brief pause for the funeral, staff would continue to work with Government officials and the events company involved “to make sure that Southwark Park in particular is fully open and returned to its former splendour”.

Members of the public at the end of the queue in Southwark Park, south London, as they wait to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state. Picture date: Sunday September 18, 2022.
Thousands of people queued for miles to see Queen Elizabeth II Lying-In-State
James Manning

In Southwark Park alone, many staff worked 24 extra hours over the four days of the lying in state to keep the green space clean, the council said.

An estimated seven tonnes of additional litter was gathered and removed over the same period.

Catherine Rose, cabinet member for parks, streets and clean air at the council, said: “Southwark has been proud, on behalf of its residents and local government as a whole, to play its role during this historic time in our nation’s history.

“We’ve carried out extra street cleansing and waste collections to keep the queue clean and tidy, and ensure all mourners had a safe and pleasant experience.”

She added: “We know that for thousands of mourners, their memory of Southwark Park is the starting point to their personal journeys of reflection and paying their respects.

“We welcome them to return at any point in the future.”

Crowds watch as the State Gun Carriage carries the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and sceptre, in the Ceremonial Procession following her State Funeral at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
Crowds of people flocked to London to pay tribute during Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral on Monday
David Davies

Westminster City Council said it had deployed additional teams to ensure the areas affected by the funeral were kept clean and presentable and to return central London to normal following a period of mourning.

As a mark of respect, vehicles have been dressed in black ribbons and council workers have worn black bows while on duty, the council said.

In the days before the funeral, 25-35 additional people were deployed daily to provide additional cleaning around the Strand, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Park Lane, Vauxhall Bridge, Marylebone and Mayfair.

Following the funeral, staff are being deployed into affected areas as soon as possible, starting at Parliament Square, with more than 150 people and 19 vehicles in 11 teams to help clear litter and remove the sand on roads, to prepare for central London reopening.

A council spokesperson said: “Westminster City Council is well equipped to deal with the city at full capacity. Preparations have been in place to handle the influx of visitors wishing to pay their respects to Her Majesty the Queen.

“Our cleansing teams have been working incredibly hard to ensure that our city remains a clean environment for all.

“We will continue to work with partners to ensure that cleansing operations run as smoothly as possible, making visitors and residents feel comfortable.”

Whitehall and Parliament Square remained busy on Monday with sightseers and TV crews, and while workers were steadily removing crowd-control barriers, some of the major roads remained closed.

The clean-up operation was still under way by 5pm, with Parliament Square being scrubbed clean and some workers still sweeping the pavements.

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