Friday 25 March 2017
Local wildlife charity the River Thame Conservation Trust this week welcomed the £20 million fine imposed at Aylesbury Crown Court for Thames Water’s negligence and recklessness at sewage treatment works in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. The £20 million fine goes direct to the treasury and local groups warn that environmental recovery must also be properly funded.
£9million of the fine was for severe pollution of the River Thame between January and November 2013 when Thames Water discharged millions of litres of untreated sewage into the River Thame at Aylesbury, enough to fill 1,146 Olympic size swimming pools.
In court, the events had been described as a ‘very dark period in Thames Water’s history’ with ‘diabolical procedures’ being partly the cause of the catalogue of pollution that had a devastating effect on River Thame wildlife.
Thames Water announced that they will be allocating £1.5 million through their Community Investment Fund to be ring-fenced for projects to improve the rivers and wildlife at the affected locations but environmentalists say this is not enough. Louise Bowe, CEO of the River Thame Conservation Trust said, “…we’ve developed good working relationships with Thames Water’s current staff and want to work closely with them going forward to put the River right. But we’re disappointed in the size of the Environment Fund they have announced. It will take years to properly renew the Thame catchment and £1.5millon is far too little spread over the wide areas affected in our catchment and others”.
The Trust held their Annual Open meeting in Stadhampton this week when more than fifty local people attended to hear about the wildlife surveying, water quality monitoring and wildlife habitat creation that has taken place over the last year and future plans “We work with farmers, landowners and more than a hundred and twenty committed community volunteers across the river catchment,” said Mrs Sally Rowlands, Chair of the trust. “We’ve got wonderful local support and the enthusiastic turnout this evening is a good example of just how much people value the River”.
Notes for Editors
- The River Thame runs 40 miles from north of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire to the village of Dorchester on Thames in Oxfordshire. Its many brooks and streams wind through both counties providing beautiful areas for people and wildlife.
- Set up in 2013, the River Thame Conservation Trust brings together local residents with farmers, landowners, anglers and naturalists to monitor, safeguard and enhance water quality and wildlife populations in and along the River Thame and its tributaries. Our vision is a river catchment with healthy fresh waters and wildlife, valued and enjoyed by local people.
- For queries and interviews contact: Louise Bowe e: firstname.lastname@example.org
t:07725 193326 .