Rubbish and Japanese knotweed were left uncleared on the banks of the River Quaggy for more than a month, it has been claimed.

HML Anderton manages the piece of land which is behind the Lewisham Lidl in Lee High Road.

Members of environmental groups noticed the rubbish when clearing the river.

Lawrence Collins, who works for Thames21 as a catchment partnership co-ordinator, said volunteers had tried to clear all the rubbish from the bank in June but there was too much.

Mr Collins said: “We clean the river thoroughly up and down that stretch and when we come across a huge amount of rubbish like this, it is a great disappointment.”

Paul de Zylva, chairman of the Quaggy Waterways Action Group (QWAG), said: “Lidl’s Lee High Road store is right on the River Quaggy and a lot of rubbish gets dumped on the river banks by people using the store car park.

“Recently we also spotted lots of Japanese knotweed on land owned by Lidl on the river banks. "Landowners are legally obliged to ensure that knotweed does not spread from their property in ways that could harm other property."

A spokesman for HML Anderton confirmed it was responsible for looking after the land and confirmed it had cleared away the rubbish and the Japanese knotweed.

He said: “HML offer a high level of service and care to all our clients.

“This matter was only bought to our attention on July 28. We have since acted promptly and have now had the rubbish removed as we realise the importance of health and safety.

“We have special professional landscapers who deal with Japanese knotweed and this has been contracted to be removed by specialists to ensure the right processes are met.

“We have regular contact with this property and will be ensuring our personal service is continued to maintain a safe environment for our clients and the local community.”

A spokesman from Lidl said the company was only responsible for maintaining the car park but not the land.

He said it has a system in place to stop people from dumping rubbish on the river bank.

The spokesman said: “We have parking restrictions in place to prevent misuse and ensure that customers take priority. This includes an in-store computer system, which requires the customer to validate their parking using their receipt.”