THAMES Water will toda discoer its fate for pouring raw sewage into the River Thames.
The water company appeared in Aylesbury Crown Court earlier this month after admitting a number of charges of unlawful discharge and breaching ammonia levels over a two year period from 2013.
Its punishment had to ‘get the message home’ it had to protect the environment, Judge Francis Sheridan said, with the company set to receive a record fine.
He said the discharges totalling 1.4 billion litres in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire had destroyed local angling and fishing businesses and left farmers with sick animals.
After the court heard Thames Water's fine for pollution was £1m paid in January 2016, Judge Sheridan said: “The fine in this case is certainly in excess of that. I have to make the fine sufficiently large that they get the message.”
“Alarms going off for days on end, certainly for more than 24 hours, poor quality equipment, the anglers are put out of business, the fishermen are put out of business and the farmers’ cattle are poisoned by the water.
“That is why the fine has to be sufficiently large to bring home to Thames Water: start to comply.”
The record fine for any water company is £2m paid by Southern Water for an incident in Margate, Kent, over the Jubilee Weekend in 2012, the court heard. Thames Water admitted environmental charges at an earlier hearing over discharges from sewage treatment works in Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and a pumping station at Littlemore.
The company will be sentenced at the same court today.