Anger in Cotswold village as sewage was pumped into river for 2,000 hours last year

There are calls for water bosses to be held accountable for the 2,000 hours of sewage which was discharged in a Cotswold village last year.

That’s the view of Gloucestershire County Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) who has requested an urgent meeting with bosses at Thames Water. This was prompted by the news that large amounts of sewage were pumped into the River Coln at the Andoversford Water Treatment Works in 2023.

He says the shocking figures mean the site is one of the top polluters in the country. “Residents are rightly appalled at this latest news.

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"I have written to water bosses asking for another meeting with local residents to find out what they will be doing to stop sewage from polluting our waterways.”

In 2022, sewage found its way into the River Coln for 800 hours. This latest set of figures mean a doubling of the amount of sewage being pumped into the river.

Thames Water has also been subject to criticism regarding the River Windrush near Bourton after a local lobby group revealed the extent of pollution there. The company has recently revealed that it is in financial difficulties.

A Thames Water spokesperson said that while all discharges are unacceptable, unfortunately in some circumstances they are necessary. “The consequences of not relieving pressure on the system would risk it overflowing into peoples homes, they said.

"We appreciate how much waterways are loved and enjoyed by everyone, and we are committed to minimising our impact on the environment, but we can’t do it alone. Farming, industry, livestock and more extreme weather all play a role in river health.

"We have published plans to upgrade 250 of our sites across the entire region. At the vast majority of sites this will increase capacity and reduce the number of necessary discharges.

"We’ve put transparency at the heart of what we do, and we remain the only water company to publish a real time data map on our website, which in its first year has been viewed over 350,000 times."