Live updates

Wessex Water opens sewage works to the public

Wessex Water opens sewage works to the public

A company in our region is celebrating 40 years in business in an unusual way. Wessex Water, which is based in Bath, is opening its sewage works to the public.

It says the trips have proved hugely popular in the past and there is also a serious message. The firm hopes to show people the consequences of flushing wrong things down the loo such as wet wipes.

Thames Water plans 10 per cent plus hike in bills

Thames Water plans inflation-busting rises in household bills Credit: Tim Ockenden/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Households in parts of Wiltshire could see water bills rise by more than 10 per cent above the cost of inflation - but elsewhere in the region they could drop by around six per cent. Thames Water wants to make the increase to pay for a new sewer in London.

By contrast Wessex Water says its bills will fall in real terms from an average of £479 a year now to £454 by 2020.

Thames, which pays no corporation tax, last week announced half-year pre-tax profits were up by nearly a fifth to £134.2 million, helped by an above-inflation tariff hike. It is already at loggerheads with the regulator over customer charges.

Thames serves 14 million customers in and around London. It said its current typical £358 bill is £50 below the average for England and Wales but would increase to £398, plus inflation, for 2020.

Last month it was slapped down by Ofwat over plans for a one-off £29 bill hike for next year, because of unforeseen costs including customers failing to pay their bills, as well as the Thames super sewer.

Advertisement

'Arnie' - the sewer dwelling robot

Sewer robot 'Arnie' Credit: ITV West

Sewers in Bristol are receiving a cyber style makeover thanks to a new edition to the Wessex Water workforce. A robot - nicknamed 'Arnie' for its film star resemblance - was unveiled as a new member of the team last month.

Complete with a CCTV camera, it can be lowered into sewers from manholes and controlled from a console onboard a van to search for blockages or damage.