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WWF reflects on the National Audit Office Review of the Thames Tideway Tunnel

WWF Water Policy Manager, Rose O’Neil commented on the publication of The National Audit Office (NAO) review of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

This is a £4.2 billion project to construct a 25 km sewer tunnel running from West to East London to reduce sewage overflows into the Thames. This review is an update of developments since the NAO report in 2014, which found six areas that were considered critical for achieving value for money

“It is unacceptable that large volumes of raw sewage are discharged directly into the Thames every week, however this isn’t a standalone issue. There are over 15,000 sewer overflows across the country that discharge raw sewage into our water sources and environment. These were designed for times when populations were fewer and far less of our towns and cities were covered in concrete. The Thames Tunnel is a positive move and part of the solution but concrete solutions are not required everywhere. 

“We need catchment solutions that manage the entire river basin. We need to work with nature to implement green infrastructure such as green roofs, permeable surfaces and other sustainable drainage systems to prevent rainwater overwhelming the built sewer system in the first place. The government have promised a Water Bill for later this year. We urge the government to announce its intention to bring this Bill forward in the next Queen’s speech, with new legislation to ensure a resilient and sustainable water and sewerage system that delivers for people and nature.”

View report: Review of the Thames Tideway Tunnel

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