Thames Tideway Tunnel no longer necessary – new data shows Thames already complies with EU Directive.

Lord Berkeley

xt141211 Binnie TTT Review of spill impact

xt141212 to de Mauley on TTT

Thames Tideway Tunnel no longer necessary – new data shows Thames already complies with EU Directive.

Analysis of new data from the Environment Agency, obtained under Freedom of Information Act, means that the Thames already complies with the European Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

There also appears to be no significant adverse impact on the Environment Agency’s Health and Aesthetic requirements for the tidal Thames.

This is the conclusion in a new Report by Prof Chris Binnie  ‘A Review of Tideway spills and their environmental impact.’ dated 10 December 2014 attached.

The Report states: ‘Now the STW upgrades are operational, the conclusion is that the Tideway appears to meet the requirement for no significant adverse environmental impact from the CSOs and thus the UWWTD

‘The completion of the Lee tunnel in late 2015 and, if thought appropriate, the floating booms, will improve conditions further.’

Lord Berkeley commented:  ‘There appears to be no good reason at all to go ahead now with the Thames Tideway Tunnel in order to meet the requirements of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, since the Thames already complies with that EU Directive.

‘Cancellation of this costly Tunnel project, £4.2bn at 2011 prices plus financing, operating and maintenance costs will save some 5m  million Thames Water households having to pay an extra £80 per annum for the foreseeable future to fund this expensive folly!.

‘The time to stop this waste of money is now!’

Lord Berkeley has written to Lord De Mauley, Minister of State at DEFRA, urging the Government to stop any further expenditure on this project, and make 14m Thames Water customers, as well as the thousands of people affected by the works, happy!

Further information:

Lord Berkeley,



  • Binnie Report ‘A Review of Tideway spills and their environmental impact’ 10 Dec 2014.
  • Lord Berkeley letter to Lord De Mauley dated 11 Dec 2014.

10 comments for “Thames Tideway Tunnel no longer necessary – new data shows Thames already complies with EU Directive.

  1. 12/12/2014 at 12:42 pm

    I wrote to my MP when I received the letter from Thames Water about extra charges to pay for this. I don’t live in London, but happen to be supplied by Thames Water. I have no choice about that. The privatised water market is a joke. The energy market is far from perfect, but at least it’s possible to switch provider, whereas water companies have a local monopoly. If a project such as the Tideway Tunnel is of national importance, it should be paid for from general taxation, not a regional tax on people who happen to receive their water from a particular company.

    Let’s end this farce and either renationalise the water companies, or else introduce real competition and let households switch supplier.

  2. Croft
    12/12/2014 at 12:42 pm

    Not sure this stands up. You are allowing for neither the ever increasing demand from a growing London nor for utterly inevitable increases in EU water regulation.

    • Gary Evans (@Sustainable_EN)
      12/12/2014 at 2:31 pm


      The EU’s UWWTD stipulates water quality requirements, which are met by the measures outlined in the press release. Fines can therefore be avoided without having to burden TW customers with paying for the disruptive TTT.

      As for any future tightening of regulations, do you have any llinks to proposals for this? Looks like nonsense to me.

      Finally, if the government werer serious about providing for an increasing population, they should be aiming for per capita reductions in water consumption and not providing ever more resources, which are set to become more stressed as the climate changes.

    • Roland
      13/12/2014 at 2:36 pm

      Croft, you are wrong in thinking that projected population growth in Inner London (the only area of combined sewers) is something that Thames Water customers from Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Outer London should pay for. That is untenable.
      If new capacity is required, it is the developers who should pay or, if it really is of national importance that Inner London’s population expands, as Jonathan says, it should be funded from general taxation. The population of Inner London at the 2011 census was 3.23 million (22% of TW customers). The combined sewers were designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette for a population of 4 million.
      Regarding EU legislation, The 2000 Water Framework Directive requires that surface waters are of at least a “good” quality status. Because the Tideway receives water from the non-tidal Thames and from “bad”, “poor” and “moderate” tributaries, it should be obvious that treating the symptom rather than the cause is also untenable.
      Other approaching EU legislation concerns drinking water and requirements to remove pharmaceutical residues and agricultural chemicals. This was estimated last year to add a further £70 to bills.
      There is a far more pressing environmental issue that is costing lives, causing misery for thousands of Londoners (in particular children) and costing the NHS £Ms to treat that require urgent action and funding i.e. air quality. No one will die if the TTT is not built. You can only spend public money once. To lock that money up in an unsustainable chunk of ancient technology (sewers were invented by the Romans) when there are modern options available to stop rainwater from filling the system when it rains is backward thinking. We are 20 years behind Germany, Denmark and much of Europe in making our water infrastructure sustainable, in particular in London. Even the USA are using modern technologies and well ahead of us.

  3. maude elwes
    13/12/2014 at 3:41 am

    Water is a life commodity, therefore, it has no place being privatised. It belongs to us all. Who gave the State the right to sell it off to a private concern? To have a private company placed in such a powerful position of having a monopoly over a life source is a total breakdown in the connection any government has with its citizens.

    Nationalise it and give the power back to the people who own it.

    • MilesJSD
      15/12/2014 at 11:50 am

      The natural and ‘rightful’ “owner” of Water, would surely be “God” –
      also arguably God is the “owner” of each individual human-body, being, and ability:
      no ?

      Your nub therefore, in “give the power back to the people who own it” needs to strike the terms “the power back” and “own it”,
      and insert there the terms “enablement” and “must use it”.
      This will also ‘greater-context’ [verb] to “participative-democratisation”, “population-control”, “sustainworthy-lifestyling”, “life-education”, and so on and so forth, wouldn’t you think ?

      • maude elwes
        16/12/2014 at 3:27 pm

        @ Miles JSD:


  4. MilesJSD
    13/12/2014 at 4:07 am

    From Wikipedia I glean that 39 million tonnes of “storm-sewage” enters the river “in a typical year”.

    What happens if
    [or when – how soon ?]
    the Thames is also majorly North Sea ‘tsunami’ overcome.
    what quantities and levels of different sorts of water will flood the River Thames, and what parts of London, then ?

  5. Bill Jones
    15/12/2014 at 1:24 pm

    Here is Dolgellau we have plenty of water.It’s the people in Birmingham I wonder about. Water use could be considerably reduced by dry composting; African tribes use it but Londoners do not; the understanding that fermentation starts with water and ordure being mixed at source. It is the fermentation that attracts bacteria and disease.

  6. Anthony Jelley
    16/12/2014 at 9:02 am

    If the Government wants large amounts of money spent on infrastructure projects, why can’t it find real problems to solve, instead of fabricating or exaggerating minor problems?

    it seems akin to ‘disease mongering’ by pharmaceutical companies (definition – “trying to convince essentially well people that they are sick, or slightly sick people that they are very ill”). It is unscrupulous and wrong.

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