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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th January 2020.

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Photo of Lord Bradshaw Lord Bradshaw Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times OFWAT has fined Thames Water for illegal discharges of untreated sewage into rivers; and what penalties were imposed on each occasion.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Ofwat has not fined Thames Water for illegal discharges of untreated sewage into rivers. Regulation of discharges of untreated sewage to the water environment is the responsibility of the Environment Agency (EA) and not Ofwat.

In March 2017, Thames Water was ordered to pay fines of almost £20 million following a series of significant pollution incidents on the River Thames and its tributaries in 2012 to 2014. The fine, for six separate cases, was a record as the highest ever set by the courts in a prosecution brought by the EA. More recently, in July 2019, Thames Water was ordered to pay costs and fines of about £700,000 for pollution from Maidenhead Sewage Treatment Works.

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