Thames Water Bypassing Council Planning Process to Accelerate the Approval of TDRA

It is now clear that Thames Water has made its application to the Secretary of State for DEFRA to consider TDRA as a Section 35 national strategic infrastructure project (NSIP). This was mentioned at the Town Hall at York House in Twickenham on November 27th, 2023, and has now been confirmed. (See at point 55.59 in this video.)

If successful, a Section 35 would mean that the decision-making is taken out of the local planning process and the decision to proceed is made via a Development Consent Order (DCO) by the Secretary of State. 

The government have until Sunday 24 December (2023) to make this adjudication. 

To know more about NSIPs and what this means then Friends of the Earth have published helpful guidance here

What does it mean for Teddington DRA if the NSIP route is confirmed 

It is disappointing to see that, once again, Thames Water have undermined the local community and their views on the scheme by bypassing local planning routes (with no public statement that they are doing so), to force this scheme into action. Thames Water’s  community conversations happened only last month, during which the NSIP route was not referenced. The community did ask Thames Water, but answers were vague. Yet it is now clear the Section 35 application was already drafted.

See the video of the Town Hall meeting here at the point where Ian McNuff of the SOLAR campaign challenged Thames Water on this process timeline.

That said, there is still a long road ahead for Thames Water to get full approval for the Teddington DRA. Local Authorities and the Mayor of London, whilst not determining planning, are critical consultees in the application process. We need to continue to raise awareness, keep our MPs and Local Authority leaders aware of the strength of opposition so that their consultation response can be suitably informed.

What can we do now? 

As Save Our Rivers and Land, we had widely expected Thames Water to take this route so we will, with all of your support, continue to act as an advocate, putting pressure on Thames Water as well as raising awareness of the campaign with the decision makers in Westminster. 

Our strategy for the next period with regard to lobbying will be to continue to engage relevant authorities and those with influence, such as:

  • The Mayor of London
  • London Assembly members
  • Ministers and Shadow Ministers for Defra
  • Ofwat decision makers
  • Plus other relevant regulators

On December 18th, we wrote to Robbie Moore, MP, the minister for water and rural growth at Defra.

What can you do?

Please do continue to let your friends and neighbours know about this SOLAR campaign, encouraging them to sign up to the newsletter and join our Facebook group, or offer skills based volunteering. 

Please continue to invite any organisations and businesses you know to sign up to our statement of opposition, see here 

In the New Year we will be looking to get some expert, legal advice, to challenge Thames Water and inform our campaign strategy. We will need to crowdfund to support this, more information in our next update. 

2 thoughts on “Thames Water Bypassing Council Planning Process to Accelerate the Approval of TDRA”

  1. Pingback: The SOLAR Campaign Writes to Defra About Section 35 Application by Thames Water - SOLAR

  2. Pingback: Save Our Lands & River Campaign Featured on ITV News - SOLAR

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