Deptford residents face annual surcharges of up to an £80 on water bills from this year onwards to pay for the £4.3 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel (TTT) even though new evidence suggests it is becoming redundant, Campaign group, Thames Blue Green Economy (TBGE) has revealed.
According to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) own calculations, the 25km long concrete tunnel will, on average, cost every Thames Water household an average of £80 annually by 2020/2. For large households on meters, the bills are likely to increase to some £120 annually. Some 15% of all families will be paying water bills at more than 5% of their total income, and 500,000 children in low income families will be hit particularly hard. Compulsory metering will mean that large families and those who suffer serious ill health, and do much more laundry, will face proportionally higher water bills.
To add insult to injury, this hugely expensive Tunnel is not even needed, as it has been revealed that River Thames water quality did not breach the Environment Agency standards in 2014. And, when the Lee tunnel becomes operational at the end of this year it’s likely that it will continue to meet the EU quality standards. The significance of this is that this, and the prospect of huge EU fines, was the government’s justification for the scheme.
Ann Rosenberg, spokesperson for TBGE, said: ”This Tunnel is a hugely expensive folly. It will soon be costing householders at least £80 extra every year, and hit low- income families and half a million children especially hard. This is a blatant victimization of hard-working families by Thames Water. It must be stopped”.
The campaign to stop the Tunnel and protect Thames Water customers is backed by prominent members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, who have called on Ministers in Defra and the Treasury to stop the rip-off.
Long-time opponent of the TTT, Lord Berkeley said: ”This is quite simply a scandal. The proposed Thames Tunnel is not needed. River water quality has every likelihood of meeting EU standards after the completion of the Lee tunnel. Why should hard-pressed families receive a nasty shock in their water bills which from this year will rise and rise?”
Campaign group, Thames Blue Green Economy (TBGE) is behind the two legal challenges to the Tunnel in the Royal Courts of Justice.