AN oil spill in the Basingstoke Canal could threaten local wildlife.

An HGV ruptured its fuel tank on a bollard near Church Path in the town centre, with oil spilling through the storm drain system into the canal.

A clean-up operation led by the Environment Agency is underway. But residents are being told not to use the canal for the time being - whether by boat, kayak or paddle board – and, in particular, to make sure dogs do not enter the water.

“Yesterday afternoon an unfortunate accident occurred in Woking town centre where a delivery truck hit a bollard and ruptured its fuel tank, with the spillage transferring through the storm drain system into the Basingstoke Canal,” said Marisa Heath, Surrey County Council cabinet member for environment.

“The Environment Agency is leading on the clean-up operation, with support from Basingstoke Canal Authority and Thames Water. All agencies have officers on the ground, who are currently working to contain the spill by placing oil booms in strategic locations.

“Until further notice no boats, canoes, paddleboards or kayaks should use the canal in the Woking town centre area between St John’s Locks and Sheerwater Locks, and dogs should not be allowed to swim in the water.  

“Unfortunately, there is likely to be an impact on wildlife in the canal, and the Canal Authority is in contact with a local wildlife hospital in case their services are needed.

 “If the public spot distressed wildlife, please contact the Canal Authority on 01252-370073.”