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Posted by Ilse Steyl Posted on 2014-07-02

Thames Water fined £75,000 + costs for 2011 sewage spill

On the 30th October 2011 an estimated 10,000 fish were killed in the River Crane following a major pollution incident due to a failed Thames Water sewage sluice gate.

Thames Water immediately accepted responsibility and also pledged £400,000 over a five year period to the Crane Valley Partnership (CVP) to work towards restoring and improving the river.

On Friday 27 June 2014, the company was fined £75,000 + costs in a court case brought by the Environment Agency (see News Release).  In considering his sentencing, the judge at Isleworth Crown Court took into account the early admission of guilt by Thames Water and the money pledged to assist in the restoration and recovery of the river and subsequently reduced the fine from an original £300,000.

The monies pledged to assist in this recovery and the subsequent support from Thames Water through the Crane Valley Partnership are of great value, yet there remains disappointment amongst some CVP members that the fine was not a greater sum.

Dr Ilse Steyl, CVP Development Manager, said that some of the members of the Partnership felt that the scale of the damage to the water body, as a result of poor maintenance to infrastructure, warranted a greater punishment, but they recognised that the funds given do allow direct on the ground action to improve the river's state, as opposed to a greater fine disappearing into the government purse.  The incident also raised greater awareness of the importance and significance of the River Crane amongst the local community, which has strengthened the Partnership.

The £400,000 pledge from Thames Water is currently used to fund projects within the Crane catchment and along the lower reaches of the river corridor.  Thames Water is also actively involved in the Partnership, providing expertise where possible.  Further information on these projects and the work of the Crane Valley Partnership can be found on the Partnership website or through contacting the CVP Development Manager, Dr Ilse Steyl.