Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Wednesday, 20 July 2005 13:11 UK

Tunnel 'needed' for Thames sewage

River Thames, Docklands
The Lib Dems are calling for tunnel in Thames to not be delayed further

About one billion litres of raw sewage was dumped into the Thames during the storms in June, Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly have claimed.

Figures show between 24 and 29 June, the untreated sewage was pumped into the river due to the inability of the sewers to cope.

Last year Thames Water said a tunnel in the river may solve the problem.

But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the tunnel could take 15 years to build.

The longer ministers drag their feet in making the inevitable decision to build the tunnel, the more this will ultimately cost the taxpayer to build
Mike Tuffrey, Lib Dems

The interceptor tunnel would help divert excess rainwater, which is causing ageing sewer tunnels to overflow.

A Defra spokesperson said: "The government has been active in seeking solutions to the problem of untreated sewage discharges to the tidal Thames.

"Further investigation has been requested by the Thames Tideway Strategic Study group regarding the proposed interceptor tunnel - which would take about 15 years to implement."

The statement said possible smaller scale measures which could bring earlier improvements to the problem of discharges were also being examined.

'Feet dragging'

A spokesperson for Thames Water said it was aware of the problem and was currently working on interim solutions.

"Thames Water is spending £300m on major sewage treatment works. This will improve the situation but will not resolve it," he said.

"We are waiting on the government to take the next step."

The delay in building the interceptor tunnel has already increased estimated costs from £600m to £1.5bn.

Mike Tuffrey, London Assembly Liberal Democrat spokesman, said: "There must be no more discussion, delay or dithering on building this interceptor tunnel.

"The longer ministers drag their feet in making the inevitable decision to build the tunnel, the more this will ultimately cost the taxpayer to build."



SEE ALSO
Thames sewage solution 'needed'
14 Sep 04 |  London
Wading through London's sewage
19 Aug 04 |  London

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific