Sewage dumps by Thames Water more than DOUBLE in the last year

2 Apr 2024
Dirty water pouring from pipe into water course

Sewage dumps by Thames Water more than DOUBLE in the last year 

New figures released by the Environment Agency have shown that Thames Water, which covers Reading West and Mid Berkshire, discharged sewage a staggering 16,990 times last year, a 112% rise compared to 2022 - more than doubling the number of discharges

The Liberal Democrats in Reading West and Mid Berkshire are calling for tougher action against sewage dumping in local rivers, including replacing OfWat with a tougher regulator.  The party has also called for a ban on bonuses for water company bosses whose firms have dumped sewage into waterways and are allowing it to flood out again.

Conservative MPs have consistently voted against measures which would have helped to tackle the crisis, including MP for Reading West, Alok Sharma, MP for Newbury, Laura Farris, and MP for Wokingham, John Redwood.

On the 26th of March, West Berkshire Council voted to hold Thames Water to account for this scandal.  Disappointingly, despite the shocking increase in sewage discharges in our area, Conservatives on West Berkshire Council abstained on the Liberal Democrats' motion, including their leader Cllr Ross McKinnon and other Conservative councillors in Reading West and Mid Berkshire, one of whom even went to hide in the toilets instead.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Reading West and Mid Berkshire, Helen Belcher, said:

“Is nothing sacred?  It is a complete scandal that sewage is being pumped into West Berkshire’s rivers and waterways again and again and again.

“Our communities should not be forced to put up with this any longer – nor should they put up with the Conservatives' pathetic response.  The Conservatives have repeatedly voted to let Thames Water off the hook and against tougher action on sewage dumping.

“And to add insult to injury, Thames Water shareholders have now decided that, rather than digging into their own pockets to fulfil their responsibilities, they want customers to pay again for the improvements that are desperately needed.

"Here in Reading West and Mid Berkshire, the Liberal Democrats have been leading the way in holding water companies to account and have called for tougher action to stop sewage being dumped in the Pang, the Kennet, and the Thames.  Local Lib Dem councillors Matt Shakespeare and James Moore have been leading these calls and taking action, on both West Berkshire and Reading Councils - while the Conservatives, locally and nationally, have just sat on their hands.

"Thames Water and OfWat need to answer for this.  Residents in Purley, East Ilsley, Hampstead Norreys, Sulhamstead and other affected communities need action now.  We need a regulator who will take action, and a ban on bonuses for water company bosses whose firms have pumped sewage into our waterways, damaging our environment, endangering our wildlife.  We need to make sure our local communities are protected."