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Newbury MP Laura Farris blasts Thames Water sewage spills into River Pang

Newbury MP Laura Farris has expressed her “serious concerns” to Thames Water over sewage spillages into the River Pang.

Mrs Farris has urged the water utility company to bring its upgrade works forward to next year, saying the condition of the water has deteriorated to the point of causing an ecological emergency.

Her scathing statement follows months of untreated discharges from Thames Water treatment works at Hampstead Norreys and other sites across West Berkshire.

Waste has been discharged into local waterways for hundreds of hours in some cases over the last few months
Waste has been discharged into local waterways for hundreds of hours in some cases over the last few months

In her letter to external affairs and sustainability director, Richard Aylard, Mrs Farris said: “It is incredibly disappointing that the River Pang has gone from “good” in 2014-2016 to “moderate” in 2019, and has now been downgraded to “poor” by the Environment Agency.

“This issue has caused serious consternation amongst residents for some time and appears to be getting worse.”

She added: “The Pang is a significant chalk watercourse in West Berkshire with huge ecological significance, and such high levels of spillage present a significant risk to water quality and to public health.

“I would be grateful for a clear statement from Thames Water on the action that is being taken to mitigate the effects of sewage leakage.”

Newbury MP Laura Farris
Newbury MP Laura Farris

Mrs Farris acknowledged significant upgrades are due for the Hampstead Norreys treatment works in 2025, but stated they are not happening soon enough given the seriousness of the problem.

She also said she has requested details from the company on the state of all sewage works along the Pang and for confirmation on the number of sewage leaks in the last three years and how each leak was addressed.

“I regret I have to press so much on this issue, but after the events of recent months, I have been seriously disappointed by Thames Water when its performance falls so seriously below the standard which its customers expect,” she added.

Thames Water has been approached for comment.

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