A young writer who has won a BBC Radio 2 award for a story inspired by the UK’s fatberg menace has been thanked by sewer maintenance specialist, Lanes Utilities for highlighting the problem in such a creative way.
Francesca Wade’s tale of Agent Ramsbottom’s fight against Dr Fatbürg, who was turning waste in London’s sewers into fish and chips for adults to eat, has won a Bronze Award in the Chris Evans Breakfast Show 500 Word Awards.
She was one of 135,000 children, aged 5 to 13, who entered the 500 Words competition that aims to inspire young people to get excited about reading and writing.
Francesca won in the 5-9 age category and received her award from comedian and science presenter Dara Ó Briain at Hampton Court Palace Friday 8 June 2018. The Duchess of Cornwall attended the event in her role as an honorary judge.
Francesca’s story helps raise awareness about fatbergs which build up in Britain’s sewers because fats, oils, grease, and other waste, such as wipes and sanitary products, are wrongly disposed of down drains.
Andy Brierley, Director of Lanes Utilities, part of Lanes Group plc, and the wastewater network services maintenance provider for Thames Water, said he was delighted Francesca had taken up the fatberg theme.
He added: “Francesca’s story is very entertaining and funny but, like all good stories, it also has a serious issue at its heart. Firstly, us adults like eating too much fatty foods. Secondly, we then allow the waste oil and fat to get into drains and sewers,
allowing fatbergs to build up, causing very costly major blockages and inconvenience for everyone, and damaging the sewer system.
“I won’t give away any more details about the plot of Francesca’s excellent story because I don’t want to spoil things for people who want to enjoy reading it. But I can assure Francesca and everyone else that we’re doing all we can to keep sewers free of fatbergs and to educate the public so we can stop Dr Fatbürg being such a menace in the future!”
Lanes Group, the UK’s largest independent drainage specialist, has developed a national Fatberg Fighters programme which helps primary schools educate pupils about Britain’s drains and sewers.
Aided by a lesson plan developed by professional teachers, children are invited to become ‘Fatberg Fighters’ and champion best practice, both at school and at home, in preventing the blocking of drains and sewers.
Lanes Utilities worked with Thames Water to remove the Whitechapel Fatberg, now the focus of a highly popular exhibition at the Museum of London.
It also backs the water company’s ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ campaign to educate the public about how to keep drains and sewers running freely.