Sewage in the Thames

MQT on 2005-06-22
Session date: 
June 22, 2005
Question By: 
Mike Tuffrey
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Are you aware of DEFRA's response to the European Commission's investigation into whether the UK is failing to fulfill its obligations concerning urban waste water treatment, due to the discharging of raw sewage into the River Thames? Do you agree that this investigation re-highlights the need for an 'Interceptor' tunnel to deal with London's sewage?


Answer for Sewage in the Thames

Answer for Sewage in the Thames

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The UK Government response to the European Commission was sent on 20th May 2005. I have not seen the response as it is treated as confidential between the UK Government and the Commission.

I do agree however that the need for a comprehensive solution to the sewer overflow problem is a pressing need and that it is unacceptable that these overflows continue into the 21st century. I have been represented on the Thames Tideway Strategic Study which, after 4 years of study by leading experts, has recommended the interceptor tunnel solution. I have made it clear to Elliott Morley that the preparatory works to enable this should go ahead over the next 5 years.

The Government have not actually ruled out the interceptor tunnel. Instead they have asked for a 'Clarifications' Study, which examines some matters in more detail, in particular if there are any other shorter term ways of addressing the problem.