Water

Thames Water falls short on burst mains and sewage leaks

14 June 2017
  • In March, Thames Water was fined £20.3 million for polluting the Thames with 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage.[1]
  • The company made an operating profit of £742million in 2015-16 and paid out £82million in dividends to shareholders[2].
  • In a recently commissioned review[3] of its trunk water mains Thames Water found:

          - the incidents did not share a common cause,

          - just 0.19% of the trunk mains network is replaced per year. At this rate it would take over 500 years to completely renew the network,

          - communication and aftercare with customers fell short of expectations.

What is being done to prevent further raw sewage leaks, in particular overflow into people’s properties? 

Will Thames Water implement the recommendations in the burst water mains review?

The London Assembly Environment Committee will tomorrow follow up on previous scrutiny of Thames Water’s response to burst water mains and explore sewage flood risk and sewage overflow; sustainable drainage; and water supply and demand.

The guests are:

  • Richard Aylard CVO, Director of External Affairs and Sustainability, Thames Water
  • Nigel Dyer, Chief Executive Officer, Thames Water Infrastructure Alliance
  • Paul Cuttill OBE, utilities expert and author of Thames Water Trunk Mains Forensic Review[3]
  • Helena Kakouratos, Works Co-ordination and Permitting Manager, Transport for London
  • Daniel Bicknell, Principal Policy and Programme Officer – Climate Change Adaptation, Greater London Authority
  • Simon Moody, Area Director London, Environment Agency


The meeting will take place on Thursday 15 June from 10:00am in the Chamber at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1).

Media and members of the public are invited to attend.  

The meeting can also be viewed via webcast.

Follow us @LondonAssembly and take part in the meeting discussion using #AssemblyEnv and #burstmains

Notes to editors

  1. Thames Water fined £20m for polluting river Thames with 1.4bn litres of raw sewage, Evening Standard, 22 March 2017.
  2. Thames Water business model under scrutiny after sewage fine, Financial Times, 23 March 2017.
  3. Thames Water Trunk Mains Forensic Review - Final Findings Report, 24 March 2017.
  4. Full Agenda papers.
  5. Leonie Cooper AM, Chair of the Environment Committee is available for interview.  See contact details below.
  6. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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