Thames Water has issued the following statement after being fined £19.75 million plus costs in Aylesbury Crown Court for offences at six facilities in the Thames Valley during the period 2012-14.
The company was prosecuted for each of the six pollution offences collectively by the Environment Agency. The number of pollution incidents at Thames Water sites has halved since 2013, as heard in court.
Chief executive Steve Robertson, appointed in September 2016, said: “We deeply regret each of these incidents at six of our sites during the period 2012-14. We asked for these incidents to be considered and sentenced together, because it was clear that our performance in this part of our region, at that time, was not up to the very high standards that we and our customers expect.
“Since then we’ve reviewed how we do things at all levels and made a number of key changes. These have included increasing the numbers of staff in key operational roles and investing heavily to improve reliability. As a result, our performance has significantly improved. We understand our huge responsibilities to the environment, have learned from these serious events, and continue to invest at the rate of around £20 million a week on continually improving our service to our customers and the environment.”
The facilities involved were five sewage treatment works in Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley, Little Marlow and Arborfield, and Littlemore sewage pumping station.
Steve Robertson added: “We will be holding open days at each of these sites later this year so our customers and stakeholders can see the improvements we have made and speak to the operational teams who work hard to maintain high standards at the works. In addition, we will be adding £1.5 million to our Community Investment Fund, ring-fenced for projects to improve the river, its wildlife and surrounding environment at the affected locations."
Thames Water serves 15 million customers, operates 350 sewage works across London and the Thames Valley, and is responsible for 68,000 miles of sewer pipes. It recycles 4.4 billion litres of sewage safely back to the environment every day – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.