Lord Chris Smith, the chairman of the Environment Agency, has said that the Thames super-sewer must go ahead to cope with London’s rising population and to preserve the River Thames.

A new super-sewer is needed to stop sewer overflows from discharging sewage into the river at times of heavy rainfall. The 32km tunnel would take the pressure off the overloaded drainage pipes and would stop the majority of the overflowing sewage entering the Thames.

Lord Smith spoke at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the London Wildlife Trust, he said:

“London needs a 21st-century sewerage system to bring it up to the standards of other UK and EU cities. The Thames Tideway offers the best value for money and the environment, and will help prevent sewage overflowing into the river after heavy rainfall.”

The sewer has seen much opposition since plans were made public, but new proposals which are under consultation should do something to appease most of the opposition.

Lord Smith continued:

“The current situation is unacceptable, with 39m cubic metres of raw sewage mixed with surface water run-off discharged in an average year. In wetter years the figure can increase threefold. These discharges occur, on average, once a week – up to 60 times a year – and after as little as 2mm of rain.”

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