Ofwat, EA - set higher targets for the sake of London's rivers


Dear Environment Agency and Ofwat,

In Thames Water's recently submitted Business Plan it proposed a 2.5x increase in tackling the number of river polluting surface water outfalls (PSWOs) between 2020-25. This isn't enough.
As the regulators of the water industry we call on you to defend London's rivers and instruct Thames Water to increase by 5x the efforts to reduce the number of polluting outfalls, compared to the current Business Plan. This would set the target at 1,000.
At the moment, Thames Water has a highly effective team which investigates and rectifies this problem. Unfortunately it is just too small. With a 5x boost to resources many more rivers will be improved.

We need action because all of London's rivers fail the Water Framework Directive. These polluted rivers flow through public parks, putting health at risk and making rivers off-limits to local people when instead they should be able to enjoy them. The Environment Agency's WISER document doesn't give a high enough priority to the pollution of urban rivers by outfalls, particularly in London, and so lets them down.

Research by the Zoological Society of London has calculated that there are more than 1,000 PSWOs just in London (Tackling Pollution in London's Rivers 2017). In addition the Environment Agency has almost 200 drains on its waiting list. Sometimes it has been as high as 300.

We need decisive and effective action and look to you, the regulators. You have a legal duty to protect our rivers from pollution.

This opportunity to significantly improve the health of London's rivers only happens once every 5 years, please take it.

Yours sincerely,

**your signature**

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Latest Signatures
186 Mrs Amy N. Mar 11, 2019
185 Ms Sarah D. Jan 27, 2019
184 Mr Chris D. Jan 24, 2019
183 Mr Richard W. Jan 12, 2019

The authorities have a duty to protect our environment but they are failing London’s rivers. There are 1,000 outfall pipes and drains polluting our rivers now. In many cases this muck flows through local parks. We need effective action to stop toxins spewing into precious habitats and putting people’s health at risk.

London Waterkeeper wants the water industry regulator Ofwat and the Environment Agency to instruct Thames Water to do 5 times more to tackle the problem. Please sign our petition on this page and send them a clear message.

Thames Water recently submitted it’s five year Business Plan to Ofwat. The plan proposes only a 2.5 times increase in efforts to cut the number of dirty drains. It falls to Ofwat and the Environment Agency to set the water industry high standards that will see comprehensive improvements in water quality. Ofwat is assessing the Business Plan now, so we need to tell them how much we care about London’s rivers.

River health is being damaged by the dumping of sewage from illegally connected homes; heavy metals and oil from roads; plus hazardous waste from industrial estates.

The Environment Agency and Ofwat have a statutory duty to stop our rivers being treated like sewers. All of London’s rivers fail water quality standards. Anything less than rectifying 1,000 outfalls won’t see a significant long-term improvement in their health.

We need Thames Water to be told to start preparing to do 5x more from 2020. It has a great team of dedicated investigators who track down pollution but it’s just too small.

The success of the river restoration project, Citizen Crane, has shown that rivers can be improved by tackling polluting drains. This is why we need a big increase in resources.