The SOLAR Campaign Submits Our Official Response to Thames Water via IPSOS

As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, that the deadline to submit your opinion to IPSOS, who are working on behalf of Thames Water, was 11:59PM on Monday, December 11th. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

Below is the letter the campaign team sent to IPSOS on behalf of everyone campaigning to stop the Thames Water TDRA scheme.


Teddington Direct River Abstraction Scheme – OBJECTIONS TO THE SCHEME 

Save Our Lands And River (SOLAR) is a community campaign group covering  an ever increasing number of community, resident and business groups within Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston. This covers around  600,000 people – some 5% of Thames Water’s entire customer base. To date, almost 60 organisations have signed up to oppose this scheme in its entirety through our statement of opposition,  and almost 30,000 people have signed the petition opposing it. These numbers continue to grow.

Please accept this as SOLAR’s opposition to the scheme as a whole because there are much better ways to meet the need outlined by Thames Water.

The specific purpose of the feedback being sought by 11th December is completely unacceptable because Thames Water has failed , on multiple occasions and despite requests, to provide the necessary materials and information to allow people to make a fair and reasonable judgement about this proposal. The 4 community events held recently have simply heightened concerns and provided our campaign with an injection of support. 

Our specific objections are as follows;

  1. The information needed for people to understand the “best value” model (criteria/weightings/scores) has never been published despite repeated requests.

  2. Better alternatives from both better use of existing assets (e.g. Queen Mary reservoir), faster fixing of leaks, faster roll out of smart metres, reviewing export volumes, faster demand reduction, more creative drought management schemes truly engaging the community, flexing the move to 1 in 200 and many more types of schemes have not been explored in sufficient detail.

  3. Two and a half times as much treated effluent will be put into the river as water taken out and putting treated effluent into the river in drought conditions will harm the river’s ecosystem.

  4. No standards for water quality testing and coverage in relation to this scheme have been published except that Thames Water has confirmed they do not propose to screen out PFAS and PFOS. They are planning to conduct a live experiment on the Thames.
    • Thames Water has misunderstood and is missing the public opinion curve around the need to protect rivers as its own research was too thematic and not scheme specific.

  5. There will be  permanent damage to protected land and its biodiversity e.g. Ham Lands alongside material disruption and impact for leisure activities in this and many other areas e.g.Moormead.

  6. No social or health impact has been undertaken for affected communities.

  7. No environmental impact assessment is planned to be concluded until 2025 yet a “preferred best value “ scheme has been picked. Thames Water’s request asking residents to select which they would prefer for pipes at this time is completely unacceptable and illogical. 

  8. No assessment has been done regarding increased flood risk from the abstraction plant in construction (10m into the 80m river width) to the highest flood risk zone where  Broom Water  is located.

  9. Thames Water’s scheme is intended to be a resilience scheme for droughts. In 2022 by its own admission, Thames Water was “caught out” by the nature of river flows in this part of the Thames, to the extent that they now need to do work to understand it. Kingston river flows have 100 years of data and information. If Thames Water needs to now do work to understand this then it can’t be a resilient location, particularly bearing in mind the unknown impacts from the River Thames Scheme.

  10. The proposed scheme plans to abstract water whereas in other parts of the Thames Water area abstractions are being stopped as the areas have become “vulnerable”.

  11. Thames Water’s use of discounted costs to publish to the public is misleading. The true cost to customers over time will be far greater than Thames Water says so the right information has not been provided.|

 We are therefore opposed to Thames Water’s proposed TDRA in its entirety.

Ian McNuff (For and on behalf of Save Our Lands And Rivers)                 11th December 2023

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