Fringe Box



Multi-million Pound Profits ‘Disgraceful’ While Sewage Discharges Continue

Published on: 23 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 26 Feb, 2022

By Martin Giles

Local Liberal Democrats are complaining that Thames Water is making hundreds of millions of pounds profit while discharging sewage into the River Wey.

Thames Water, which dumps sewage in local rivers/coastline, made an operating profit of £488.8 million last year.

And Thames Water admits that the discharges are unacceptable. A spokesperson said: “It’s our view that discharges of untreated sewage are simply unacceptable, even when they are legally permitted, and we’ll work with the government, Ofwat and the Environment Agency to accelerate work to stop them being necessary.”

As a result of sewage dumping, the River Wey through Guildford and Waverley is one of the worst 25 per cent of rivers in terms of ecological and overall river health according to the Rivers Trust.

Swimmers can be frequently seen in the River Wey, her by St Catherine’s footbridge, despite the sewage discharges.

Across the UK water companies making billions in profit were responsible for nearly 400,000 sewage dumping events in 2020 alone, according to the Environment Agency.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding a “Sewage Tax” of 16 per cent on water companies to create an emergency fund for cleaning up rivers.

Zoe Franklin

Zöe Franklin, the Liberal Democrat’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Guildford, said: “It is disgraceful to see water companies making such enormous profits while continuing to get away with polluting our local rivers with sewage. We know that through 2019 and 2020 sewage flow into our rivers locally amounted to 2880 hours – who knows what it will be in 2021.

“Local people are really angry that this is happening and have made that clear by joining me to protest in October last year, and the issue regularly comes up when I’m out and about.

“This Conservative government is just letting Thames Water, and other water companies, get away with it. The government is taking us for granted and doing nothing to protect our local rivers. It has to stop and water companies must pay to clear up the mess they are making.”

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “Our aim will always be to try and do the right thing for rivers and for the communities who love and value them.

“We have an unprecedented amount of investment directed towards safeguarding our rivers and streams. Between 2020 and 2025 we are spending £1.25 billion on maintaining and improving our operational sites, including contributing to the health of 745km of rivers across London and the Thames Valley. This includes improvements at sewage works in Cranleigh, Haslemere and Bentley.

“We have a long way to go – and we certainly can’t do it on our own – but the ambition is clear.”

According to Thames Water, overflows are designed to operate automatically when the sewer network and sewage works are about to be overwhelmed, and release diluted wastewater into rivers rather than letting it back up into people’s homes.

The company says it is committed to providing sewage discharge notifications from all of its 468 permitted discharge points by the end of 2022.

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Responses to Multi-million Pound Profits ‘Disgraceful’ While Sewage Discharges Continue

  1. Sue Warner Reply

    February 23, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    Plus their meter reading/billing is a disgrace. I received a revised bill last week dated January 29 2021 – meter reading was 1m3 increase from the previous bill dated 6 August 2019. it showed no current readings. Meters are on the pavement outside the flats to which I have no access.

    I bet you if they eventually catch up, they’ll want payment immediately. Fortunately, I am paying them a regular monthly amount, so shouldn’t be a problem but they do need to get their act together.

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