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Save Our Lands and River

Save our Lands and River Campaign Group 

We’d love your support to fight this scheme and help reduce pollution in the Thames and rivers across the UK.
There are 5 ways you can help
1. Community support against the TDRA scheme
Please help us get local businesses, schools and community groups across Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow boroughs to electronically sign our statement of opposition (link below).
We have over 100 signatures so far (included on link) and would love to reach 250 so we can quantify community opposition.
2. Please sign and share petitions which oppose river pollution
a) Thames Water’s TDRA scheme
b) Sewage dumping in Kingston’s Hogsmill river

c) Sewage dumping in rivers nationwide

d) River Action’s petition to ask the government to take action

3. Please join SOLAR’s monthly email news with campaign updates and events, you can unsubscribe anytime.
4. Donate to SOLAR so we can afford legal representation and fight to stop the TDRA scheme being approved
(Info about the scheme summarised below)
6. Record visual pollution and mammal sightings on the Thames
a) Pollution spotting
b) Mammal sightings
Info about the TDRA scheme
Thames Water plans to:
  • Extract millions of litres of water from the River Thames above Teddington Weir
  • Pump millions of litres of treated sewage into the River Thames
  • Pipejack a 4.5 km tunnel under the streets of Isleworth, Twickenham, Teddington, Ham and Kingston
  • Destroy natural land in St Margarets (Moormead Park), Ham and Kingston to build 8 shafts to access the tunnels
  • Construct large treated sewage discharge and water extraction structures on the Richmond / North Kingston Riverside on the Thames Path National Trail
Why SOLAR is objecting
The TDRA scheme is being proposed at a time when the EA has undergone 70% budget cuts, resulting in greatly reduced management of sewage effluent release. Due to this and their resource monopoly, Thames Water can prioritise profit over environmental responsibility and customer service.
The Thames at Kingston currently has poor bacterial status and was recorded at Teddington Weir in 2022 as having a poor ecological status.
Jerry Scott-Maber of Albany Outdoors Boat Club in Kingston said ‘We are a river community and we are watching our river dying.’
This is before the potential impact of the TDRA scheme is taken into account.
River users 
Because our area of the Thames does not have bathing water status (BWS) Thames Water are not obliged to remove dangerous bacterial and viral contaminants from the proposed TDRA effluent, or from Hogsmill and Esher sewage plants.
Between Kingston and Richmond we have a large number of children using the river, including hundreds of secondary school children who paddle and swim at the lock cut, 20 boat clubs between Kingston and Richmond with children as their sole or significant cohort, and large numbers of families and individuals who use the river.
Albany and Leander boat clubs in Kingston said that more parents are choosing to not sign up their children for fear of them getting ill, and they will eventually have to close if their numbers continue to drop. Their water testing done in May 2024 has shown that the bacterial status of the river has been ‘poor’ on 3 out of 4 occasions.
If the TDRA scheme gets approved the proposed abstraction and effluent backfill will substantially increase these contaminants.
The effluent outfall will be roughy at quarter capacity 365 days a year and at full capacity during drought conditions, a  time when existing and new contaminants will be more concentrated due to lack of rainwater dilution.
Bathing Water Status
Teddington Bluetits swimming group (based at YMCA slipway) are applying for bathing water status, led by swimmer Simon Griffiths who is founder of Outdoor Swimmer magazine. He says that river swimming numbers across the UK are decreasing because of river pollution.  If BWS is achieved the Environment Agency (EA) will be obliged to weekly test for bacterial contaminants, and if results show ‘poor’ status they will be obliged to pressure Thames Water to decrease contamination from treated and untreated effluent.
However by the time bathing water status is potentially achieved the scheme and design of the TDRA effluent treatment plant will be confirmed and it will be too late to adapt it to remove bacterial and viral contaminants.
Forever Chemicals’
Other legal contaminants in treated effluent such as ‘forever chemicals’ (PFA’s), pharmaceutical residues, heavy metals and micro plastics have been well documented to increase risk of cancer, liver damage and developmental defects in children (among many others).
The EU introduced legislation in January to oblige sewage plants to have technology in place to greatly reduce these by 2045, and we expect the UK will follow suit. If the TDRA scheme goes ahead it will be releasing these emerging pollutants and not be future proofed against prospective legislation.
River Ecology 
There is a large body of evidence to show that these aforementioned contaminants have a detrimental affect upon the ecological status of the river, as well as increased water temperature and salinity from treated effluent.
Can the new TDRA effluent treatment plant remove these contaminants?
Thames Water says there is not room at Mogden for this level of treatment. They will be obliged to reduce plant nutrients such as Phosphorous and Nitrogen, but existing laws do not require them to remove anything else, especially as there is no abstraction plant downstream of the proposed outfall so the effluent doesn’t need to be as clean as that upstream of abstraction.
If not TDRA then what instead?

Thames Water has proposed two water re-use schemes for water supply as alternatives to the TDRA, at Mogden and Beckton Sewage Plants. These have been dismissed because they are more expensive in the short term, although better value in the long term because they would treat released effluent to a much higher standard and be capable of producing a much larger amount of water.

A collaboration of other approaches would also assist drought alleviation and population growth;

-higher targets for mains rehabilitation

-accelerated adoption of smart meters

-significantly increased awareness and support for domestic and commercial water saving measures

-pressure on government for building regs retrofitting to help customers save water

Other improvements

-Reinvestigate the possible supply from the Queen Mary reservoir

-Bring forward the Southfleet and Greenhithe scheme from 2069

-Renegotiate the current export from Thames Water to Essex and Suffolk water

-Due to EA cuts and having a resource monopoly, Thames Water can prioritise profit over environmental responsibility and customer service, as a result the Thames currently has a poor bacterial status and was recorded in 2022 by the EA as having a poor ecological status. This scheme continues to prioritise profit.
-The TDRA scheme is not future proofed against prospective UK legislation reducing emerging contaminants of concern
-The TDRA scheme is not future proofed against the area achieving bathing water status and the need to reduce bacterial and viral contaminants
-The scheme will stop hundreds of people from using the river during drought conditions and endanger those who enter the river.
-The scheme is not good value as it produces a relatively small amount of water compared to other proposed schemes, and a collaborative approach towards water resource management.
-This short term scheme will cause huge disruption with tunnelling across Twickenham, Ham and Kingston.
-A large abstraction plant on the riverbank of the picturesque ‘Arcadian Thames’ will be an eyesore and a danger to local children.