Extinction Rebellion campaigners pour fake sewage outside Southern and Thames Water headquarters

  • WATCH: The moment campaigners pour fake raw sewage outside the two offices

Members of the campaign group, Extinction Rebellion, poured fake sewage outside the Headquarters of Southern Water and Thames Water.

The activists, wearing hazmat suits and respirators, targeted the buildings in Worthing and Reading.

Buckets full of fake raw sewage were tipped down the stairs of the two headquarters, as banners with the words "cut the crap" were hung outside the entrance doors.

The group delivered a letter demanding that the companies stop sewage spills and cease the payment of bonuses and dividends to shareholders.

Untreated sewage has poured straight into the Colwell Brook at Witney from the adjacent sewage works over Christmas last year Credit: ITV News Meridian

A Southern Water spokesperson said: “We are aware of this demonstration and understand the concerns of those involved.  

“At Southern Water, we play our part in improving the standard of bathing waters, through major investments in treatment works along our 700 miles of coast – and we are working hard to extend our efforts and partnerships with other agencies to make an even bigger positive impact.

"This includes an industry-leading approach to reducing the use of storm overflows when increased surface and groundwater enter our sewers. 

“We’re investing £2 billion (around £1,000 per household) between 2020 and 2025 and we haven’t paid a dividend to shareholders since 2017, preferring instead to put our money into improving our network and infrastructure.” 

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We regard all discharges of untreated sewage as unacceptable and will work with the government, Ofwat and the Environment Agency to accelerate work to stop them being necessary and are determined to be transparent.

“We are absolutely committed to protecting and enhancing our rivers and the communities who love them, and we want to make these discharges of diluted sewage unnecessary as quickly as possible.

“Of course, what matters most is stopping the need for the discharges. 

"Our shareholders have not taken a dividend in over five years and last year approved a business plan that sees us spending an additional £2 billion beyond what our customers are funding so we can improve outcomes for customers, leakage and river health. 

"This will allow us to deliver our commitment to a 50% reduction in the total annual duration of discharges across London and the Thames Valley by 2030 and within that an 80% reduction in sensitive catchments. 

“We have started the £100 million upgrade of our Mogden sewage treatment works in London, and are currently increasing sewage treatment capacity at a number of our other sewage works across the Thames Valley, including Witney, Chesham and Fairford to be completed by 2025.  

“We have a long way to go – and we certainly can’t do it on our own – but the ambition is clear.”