Crime and punishment
Or lack of it.
We asked Thames Water to back up their claim made on BBC Radio Gloucestershire that the long term dumping of untreated sewage at Bourton on the Water this winter was legal. We didn't think it was, for good reasons.
The reply, which is attached to this blog below our letter of 17 April (start there if you prefer) raised some questions so we did some digging and this is what we found.
Letter from WASP to Richard Aylard CVO, Director of Sustainability, Thames Water Utilities Limited.
This was the shocking murky state of the once clear Windrush in April this year, downstream of the location of the huge, apparently unpermitted and thereby illegal untreated sewage spills near Bourton on the Water. The photo was taken near to the Barringtons and the trailing algae on the twigs is another telltale of pollution.
The letter below had been Mr Aylard's resonse on 6 March when we queried the Thames Water representative's comments in the BBC radio interview.
It looks as if the EA and Thames Water may have been masking unpermitted spilling and normalising it by constantly telling their staff and the public that it is for the customer's benefit! The Agency's prosecution policy makes it highly unlikely that cases will go to court or even be investigated and many pollution events slip through the net.
That a government Agency would protect a serial polluter with many previous convictions, and allow it to break the law and continue over many years is bizarre and we wonder why this has happened. Maybe someone will tell us..
Bills have remained low but so have environmental protections, and many customers have also suffered. Profits have been high as sewage network and treatment assets have remained substandard. Is this the way to look after one of our most precious resources for ourselves and future generations?
At the same time, long term sewage spilling was happening at Witney for the same reasons and had happened before, in 2014 when the Agency let Thames off the hook .
More to come soon.