Environment Agency News Release
The Environment Agency today welcomed the Government's announcement of the improvement to London's sewerage system, which crosses a significant hurdle towards the River Thames being free from weekly sewage discharges.
The Government announced its support for a single 30km tunnel, running between Hammersmith in the west and Beckton in the east, capturing the unsatisfactory sewage discharges into the Thames, which will go forward for planning and funding.
The Environment Agency has been working on solving this problem for many years. We have been part of the Thames Tideway Strategic Study Group, which was tasked with looking at the problem and putting forward a solution for Government's consideration.
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said: "Our world class city needs a sewerage system that takes it out of the 19th century, brings it up to the standards of other EU and UK cities, and stops raw sewage discharges into the river virtually every week.
"This option offers the best value for money and the environment. It gives us the greatest flexibility and will prevent overflows wherever rain falls over London. It will cope with future development in London and climate change. We also believe it is the only option that fully meets the requirements of the European Urban Waste Water Directive."
Barbara Young added: "This is undoubtedly the worst sewage pollution problem in the UK. Some 32 million tonnes of sewage enter the Thames via these overflows each year. The Thames is one of London's greatest assets - but it has experienced a history of abuse and pollution. The Victorian engineer Joeseph Bazalgette put the first improvements in place to protect the river and today - some 150 years later, we need to finish the job.
"We are pleased that we have made a big step forward towards delivering the right environmental solution for the river and will work with our partners to ensure progress is made quickly."