Position statement on sewage discharges in the Chilterns National Landscape

Position statement on sewage discharges in the Chilterns National Landscape

The Chilterns National Landscape is dismayed that, for the last few weeks, local communities, including Chalfont St Giles and Chalfont St Peter, are yet again suffering from raw sewage discharges flowing from overloaded sewage pipes owned and managed by Thames Water.

While water companies may point to the exceptionally wet weather overwhelming their sewage treatment facilities, the Chilterns National Landscape team has repeatedly argued that sewage discharges into our communities and our internationally rare chalk streams are unacceptable in the 21st century.   

Climate change is leading to increasingly frequent extreme weather events, with February being the wettest ever recorded, so without improved levels of investment to make our sewage system sufficiently robust, the repeated damage to businesses, homes, and the environment will inevitably get worse. 

Neil Jackson, conservation and landscape officer at the Chilterns National Landscape, said, “Colleagues from our Chilterns Chalk Streams Project have, for years, repeatedly highlighted the failings of the existing sewage treatment systems within the Chilterns National Landscape which have led to frequent discharges into our precious chalk streams. Over recent weeks, local communities have also suffered directly as sewers have been overwhelmed by heavy rainfall.

The Chilterns National Landscape supports calls both for better regulation over discharges into the rivers system but also for improved investment to ensure our sewage system is able to cope with increasing numbers of extreme weather events. Discharges of raw sewage into our communities, and our streams, must stop.”