Thames Water to pay record £20m for river pollution
22 Mar 2017
Thames Water Utilities Ltd has been charged more than £20 million in combined fines and costs for a series of serious pollution incidents on the river Thames.
Aylesbury Crown Court heard that the six incidents, involving illegal discharge of sewage, took place between 2012 and 2014, causing widespread damage and the loss of wildlife.
His Honour Judge Sheridan, called the case “entirely foreseeable and preventable" criticising the “disgraceful conduct” of TWUL.
Safeguarding the environment is not an optional extra, it is an essential part of how all companies must now operate
Sir James Bevan, chief executive, the Environment Agency
He said the company had shown “scant regard for the law, with dreadful results for people who live in the area.”
The case followed lengthy investigations by officers of the Environment Agency. The court was informed that millions of litres per day of untreated sewage, was diverted to the rivers away from the treatment process. This was despite the evidence that the incoming sewage flow was within the designed capacity of the treatment works.
Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said:
"Water and sewerage companies provide a vital service to the community. Where they experience problems through no fault of their own we will always work with them to resolve them but where negligence causes serious pollution, or a serious threat to the environment, we will seek the strongest possible penalties.
"This case sends a clear signal to the industry that safeguarding the environment is not an optional extra, it is an essential part of how all companies must now operate."
Fines were imposed individually for each of the six incidents with the largest for Aylesbury and Little Marlow amounting to £9 million and £8 million respectively.