On 16 April, Munira met with the new CEO of Thames Water, Chris Weston, to raise residents’ concerns about the controversial Teddington Direct River Abstraction (DRA) proposals. The proposals, which would see treated sewage pumped into the river above Teddington Lock, have received an outpouring of opposition because of concerns about the environmental, construction and social impacts. 

In the meeting, which Mr. Weston had agreed to following the letter Munira sent in February, Munira asked Thames Water to take the Teddington Direct River Abstraction off the table.  

Whilst, as expected, Thames Water will not commit to scrapping the DRA, there is positive news in that the Government has delayed its decision on the proposals and asked Thames Water to provide more information. This is no doubt because of the pressure that campaign groups, residents, local councillors and MPs have been putting on the Government and Thames Water – and will continue to do. 

“People don’t want our precious waterways pumped full of sewage, whether treated or otherwise,” said Munira. “With too many crucial questions still unanswered about the health and environmental impacts, and with more viable alternatives available, I will keep calling on Thames Water and the Government to scrap the proposals once and for all. The threat to people, wildlife and the environment is too great a cost.” 

Thames Water’s precarious financial situation has added another dimension to the trust issues that Munira has consistently been raising. Namely, how residents can be expected to trust Thames Water on the Teddington DRA, when the company loses billions of litres a day through leaks, illegally pumps sewage into our precious waterways, and rewards its executives with sky-high bonuses. To add insult to injury, the company has also revealed plans to hike consumers’ bills by an astonishing 44%. 

Now, there are fresh concerns that the contagion from Thames Water’s financial situation could create spillover effects that would have devastating consequences for the UK economy as a whole. 

Munira is backing a Bill tabled by MP Sarah Olney, the Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park, calling for Thames Water to be put into special administration immediately, and reformed into a public benefit company which includes an environmentalist on the company board. 

Visit the “Saying no to sewage” campaign page for a full summary of Munira’s fight against the Teddington DRA.