The former boss of the water regulator Ofwat has criticised plans for a controversial new "super sewer" under London. Sir Ian Byatt is the latest to oppose Thames Water's plans to build the £4 billion sewage system.
The water company says it needs to ease the pressure on London's existing Victorian infrastructure. But Sir Ian Byatt says the only reason the current network is in a bad state is because Thames Water hasn't maintained it properly.
So what does it mean for you? Here are the facts and figures surrounding Thames Water, the Tideway Tunnel, and the future for London's water network:
- 39 million tonnes of untreated sewage flushes into the Thames in a typical year - that’s enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall 450 times
- There are 57 overflows, which discharge sewage into the river around once a week
- Construction on the new 'super-sewer' is expected to start in 2016 and last around 6 years
- The average Thames Water bill is currently £354
- The company wants to levy a one-off £29 surcharge, which will in part pay for the super-sewer
- From the early 2020s, bills will rise by up to £80 per year
- Thames Water announced £150 million profits last year