Twickenham MP Munira Wilson has presented a petition to Parliament, signed by over 700 local residents, calling for Thames Water’s sewage recycling proposals in the area to be scrapped.
The petition calls for the Teddington Direct River Abstraction (DRA) scheme to be discarded, citing concerns about the environmental, construction and social impacts.
There is huge local opposition to Thames Water’s Teddington DRA scheme, which would pump treated sewage into the river above Teddington Lock via an underground pipeline from Mogden Sewage Treatment Works, as part of Thames Water’s stated drought resilience objectives.
Whilst initial concerns about the proposals centred on the impact on water quality, human health and the environment, new information about the construction impacts reveal that Moormead Park in Munira’s constituency, and Ham Lands in Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney’s constituency, would be turned from nature sites to construction sites if the scheme is approved.
Residents are also concerned about the social impact, with Moormead Park a vital hub for recreation and community sport, including youth cricket and football.
“On any given day, our stretch of the river is alive with people swimming, rowing, paddling and kayaking along our precious waterway, and enjoying nature with their sporting clubs, youth groups, schools and families,” said Munira. “My constituents are rightly concerned about the impact that Thames Water’s proposals would have on people and the environment.”
In her response to the most frecent Thames Water public consultation, which closed on 11 December, Munira pointed out that there are still serious questions to be answered about the proposals, with the Environment Agency itself having said that Thames Water have failed to show that the Teddington scheme is “feasible or environmentally acceptable”.
Trust in water companies, she says, is at an all-time low, and the Teddington DRA would save only one tenth of the 630 million litres of water that Thames Water loses every day through leaks. Meanwhile, alternatives with broader public support have been inexplicably discarded.
“This is not about residents saying ‘not in my backyard’ for no good reason, and no one is questioning the need to have robust drought resilience plans to face the climate crisis,” said Munira.
“But the bottom line is that the Teddington DRA just doesn’t add up. It’s bad for residents, bad for the environment, bad for water bill payers, and barely scratches the surface of the problem it seeks to resolve.”
In addition to the hundreds of residents who have signed Munira’s petition, almost 30,000 people have signed a Change.org petition, and thousands more have responded to Thames Water’s public consultations to express their opposition.
Munira has been challenging the proposals on behalf of residents since they were first announced. In addition to raising residents’ concerns directly with Thames Water – including in a recent meeting with local campaign groups and Thames Water CEO Cathryn Ross – Munira has raised concerns with the Environment Agency, as well as with Environment Ministers and Ofwat.
In a debate Munira held in Parliament in September, she asked the former Water Minister Rebecca Pow to take the Teddington DRA proposal off the table – which the Government has the power to do. Munira and Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney are due to meet with Rebecca Pow’s successor, Minister Robbie Moore, next week to discuss the proposals.