New petition launched to prevent pollution at Teddington Lock

Thames Water recently announced plans to abstract water from the Thames close to where the Teddington Bluetits swim and replace it with treated effluent. The Teddington Bluetits have launched a petition in response.

Thames Water has outlined a scheme that would involve draining up to 75 million litres of water a day from the River Thames some 350 metres upstream of Teddington Weir – close to a popular swimming location frequented by the Teddington Bluetits, among others. 

This water would be transferred via an existing underground tunnel to the Lee Valley reservoirs in North London and replaced with treated effluent from the Mogden Sewage Works, which would be transported some 15km through a new pipeline to Teddington.

In response, Fiona Jones has launched a campaign and petition on behalf of the Teddington Bluetits, ‘Stop the Abstraction Plant at Teddington Weir and Releasing Treated Sewage into the River’.

Their concerns are: 

  • Fears for the impact on river life, fish, insects and plants, because it may impact the biodiversity of the river including changes in the water temperature, oxygen levels and its chemical make-up.
  • The scheme will also need the building of what many may consider to be an eyesore at the point where the water would be abstracted from the Thames.
  • Thames Water claim this proposal will be safe as they are regulated.  We are worried that although fines may be imposed for breach, this is not enough to protect our river. 
  • Thames Water has repeatedly put profits and shareholders ahead of customers and environment; they were fined £51 Million last October for “missed targets” according to Ofwat. 
  • Thames Water was given just 2 out of 5 stars by the Environment Agency in 2021 for record sewage discharge and pollution to the Thames. 

Outdoor Swimmer team join the protest

Outdoor Swimmer Publisher Simon Griffiths, who regularly swims at Teddington Lock, and Editor Ella Foote attended the Teddington Bluetits’ protest earlier this week on the banks of the Thames. 

“Ella and I got involved in a protest swim this week with the Teddington Bluetits, who swim in the Thames near Teddington Lock,” said Simon. “They don’t hang around when their feathers are ruffled. I ended up doing another nerve-wracking media interview [with the BBC] and also helped out with the in-water filming. I love that the simple activity of swimming can unite people around environmental causes and help improve the quality of our waterways.”

“It’s always a pleasure to meet and swim with Bluetit swimmers,” said Outdoor Swimmer Editor, Ella Foote. “Joining their campaign to protect our rivers for swimming and our environment is a no-brainer. Local swimmers and groups like this are essential for the future of outdoor swimming.”

Get involved by signing and sharing the petition: ‘Stop the Abstraction Plant at Teddington Weir and Releasing Treated Sewage into the River’; giving your views online to the public consultation; writing to your local MP; and spreading awareness using #SaveTeddingtonThames. Keep up with the latest environmental headlines relating to outdoor swimming on our news page.

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