"Action On Thames Raw Sewage Long Overdue"

Wandsworth Liberal Democrat MEP welcomes EU court ruling

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Commenting on the ruling by the EU court that the UK has breached in respect of Thames pollution a 1991 EU law banning release into rivers of untreated sewage, since it came into force in 2000, Wandsworth Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:

“The court’s ruling comes as no surprise, though it is a great pity things came to this. The outdated reliance on Victorian systems has caused regular discharges of raw sewage into the river following even moderate rainfall, which is disgusting in the 21st century.”

“I have led the campaign to clean up the Thames for 8 years, taking a petition to European Parliament in 2005. It is simply unacceptable that Europe’s top city has water quality well below WHO standards. The blame lies on past Tory and Labour governments which failed to implement the sewage clean-up required under the law the UK signed up to 2 decades ago.”

“Thankfully and as recognised in the Court’s ruling yesterday, Thames Water is finally improving treatment works and building the Thames Super Sewer to collect any raw sewage overflows instead of them reaching the river. While disruption to residents must be minimised, this construction is essential.”

The EU's 1991 Urban Waste Water Treatment directive came into force in 2000 and requires the treatment of sewage before discharge in order to keep rivers seas and lakes clean. The European Commission considers the overflows of sewage into the Thames so frequent and systematic that they are in breach of the directive and therefore illegal.

October 21, 2012