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Clean rivers impossible until Thames Water and government get a grip on spills, writes Sadiq Khan
25 January 2024, 14:13
While we’re making huge progress cleaning up London’s air, it’s a disgrace that levels of sewage in our rivers continues to increase.
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New analysis done by my team at City Hall has shown that the sewage flowing into London’s rivers in 2023 was almost five times the amount for the same period the previous year.
Between April and December 2023, Thames Water released sewage into London's waterways for a staggering 6,590 hours, 11 minutes and 54 seconds.
The Wandle in south London is my local river and I have fond memories of exploring it with my family.
It’s one of our few treasured chalk stream rivers, but Thames Water has said that work to protect it from sewage spills may not take place until 2035.
I’ve written to the new boss of Thames Water, Chris Weston, to make absolutely clear that he needs to get a grip on the situation.
London is leading the way in implementing new innovative drainage systems, working with community groups, schools, and boroughs to slow the flow of water across the capital.
And through my Rewild London fund, we’re cleaning our waterways in a natural way that brings back our lost animals, such as beavers in Ealing and water voles in Barking.
But despite these rays of light, we simply won’t be able to get the clean rivers we all want until Thames Water does better and we see action from the Government to stop sewage flowing into our rivers.
That’s why – as well as doing all I can from City Hall to continue building a greener, cleaner London for everyone - I’ll continue to stand up for our city by putting pressure on the Government to introduce tougher legislation that forces water companies to act.
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