Councillors calling for a cross-party taskforce to hold Thames Water to account have been disappointed by a lack of support from Lib Dem, Labour and Green District Councillors in West Oxfordshire.
Despite the Conservative group trying to show that local councillors can work together, the coalition have voted against a motion calling for a new cross-party taskforce to be established to help support the council in better holding Thames Water to account. The new group would have also given the opportunity for local campaign groups like Windrush Against Sewage Pollution to also have a seat at the table.
The motion was debated at the first District Council meeting of the year on Wednesday 31st January with the motion being amended by Labour and the Lib Dem's removing the wording for the new taskforce to be set up.
Conservative District Councillor, Cllr Lysette Nicholls, who proposed the original cross-party motion, said "The Lib Dem led coalition could have shown maturity and shown our residents that we can all work together. Instead they've opted to play politics with an issue we are all concerned and disgusted about. If they had supported my motion we could have worked better together in holding Thames Water to account and help to ensure the deadlines for sewage works or pumping station upgrades don’t slip again.”
Thames Water has recently come under fire as data indicated there had been continuous sewage overflow at Witney Sewage Works since December 30, 2023. The sewage discharge had been ongoing for more than 122 hours as of 5th January.
A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We regard all discharges as unacceptable, and we have published plans to upgrade over 250 of our sewage treatment works and sewers. We’re currently increasing sewage treatment capacity at a number of our sewage works across the Thames Valley, including Witney Sewage Treatment Works which is expected to be completed in 2024.
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