SOLAR Campaign Writes to Thames Water About Missed Opportunities to Engage with the Community

This email, and a letter, was sent to the representatives below for and on behalf of the SOLAR campaign. Conor Loughney has been contracted on behalf of Thames Water to manage community education activities between the community affected by TDRA and Thames Water.

By email and in reply to Thames Water
Email dated 31 January 2024
Letter dated 3 February 2024

to: Conor Loughney, Engagement Manager, Queenswood Engagement
cc: Chris Weston (CEO, Thames Water)
Cathryn Ross (Strategy and External Affairs Director, Thames Water)
Nevil Muncaster (Strategic Partnerships Director, Thames Water)
Jack Day (Thames Water)

Ruth Cadbury MP (Brentford & Isleworth)
Rt Hon Ed Davey MP (Kingston & Surbiton)
Sarah Olney MP (Richmond Park)
Munira Wilson MP (Twickenham)
Hina Bokahri AM

Best Value and Alternatives Meeting

It is difficult to express our frustration and disbelief at a further response from Thames Water to cancel another agreed meeting, first on Tuesday 23 January 2024 and now on Wednesday 7 February 2024. Not only has Thames Water advised that the meeting cannot take place, but there has been no suggested alternative time and date. Please do so.

In all the public rhetoric, Thames Water says it wants to engage with the community but its actions do not support that claim.

It is now over ten months since the River Stakeholders meeting in Teddington on Thursday 27 April 2023, where Thames Water came to outline to the local community the proposed Teddington DRA scheme. This included the suggestion that TDRA had emerged as a best value scheme. The very first question we asked at this meeting was for Thames Water to explain how this had been worked out as “Best Value”. Ten months later we are still waiting for information that justifies this decision, despite repeated requests.

Thames Water’s efforts to explain this have failed because the detail we have asked for has simply not been provided. Thames Water’s published documents use the fundamental principle/underlying premise for the Teddington Direct River Abstraction (TDRA), that it is a ‘preferred best value scheme’. But we, the public, have not been given any further detail, setting out the basis for this calculation, therefore how can we make any kind of reasonable judgement?

To make matters worse, SOLAR asked specifically (on Friday 15 December 2023) for annexes E and F, the latter being part of the Strategic Environment Assessment, where the public should be given an effective chance to engage. Thames Water’s published documents said these papers were “available on request.”

It is extremely disappointing that six weeks later, we have received no papers and no indication about when they will be made available. Why is there such a continued delay?

At our meeting at Mogden Sewage Treatment Works with Cathryn Ross (interim joint-CEO at the time) and colleagues on Friday 1 December 2023, Thames Water made a promise to engage with us, and we hoped this would have resulted in a step forward in engagement. Since then, we have seen two steps back.

For the record, this letter will be made available to the thousands of people who have signed the petition, the growing list of local organisations/associations who have signed up to SOLAR’s statement of opposition and the growing community campaign against Teddington DRA.

Yours sincerely,

Ian McNuff
For and on behalf of SOLAR (Save Our Lands and River)

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