Thames Water fined over £3m for pumping ‘millions of litres’ of sewage into rivers near Gatwick

4 July 2023, 12:02 | Updated: 4 July 2023, 12:09

Thames Water has been fined over £3m
Thames Water has been fined over £3m. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Thames Water has been fined £3.3 million at Lewes Crown Court after pleading guilty to four charges relating to polluting rivers near Gatwick in 2017.

Thames Water pumped an estimated ‘millions of litres’ of sewage into rivers near Gatwick Airport, the court heard.

More than 1,000 fish were killed and the water turned ‘black’ by the spill, the court heard.

The two-day sentencing hearing at Lewes Crown Court was told there was a "significant and lengthy" period of polluting the Gatwick Stream and River Mole between Crawley in West Sussex and Horley in Surrey on October 11 2017.

Judge Christine Laing KC said on Tuesday that said she believed Thames Water had shown a "deliberate attempt" to mislead the Environment Agency over the incident, such as by omitting water readings and submitting a report to the regulator denying responsibility.

Thames Water had pleaded guilty on February 28 to four charges relating to illegally discharging waste in October 2017.

This penalty comes as the utility giant, which serves 15 million households across London and Thames Valley, faces concerns over its future amid mounting debt.

The record fine against a water company for illegal discharge of sewage is held by Southern Water at £90 million for nearly 7,000 incidents across Hampshire, Kent and Sussex in a case brought by the Environment Agency in 2021.

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