London's desalination plant clears final hurdle

Jun 23, 2008

Mayor’s decision to drop court action a ‘victory for common sense’, says Owens

Thames Water has welcomed the announcement by the new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, that he has withdrawn the legal challenge to the Government’s decision to grant planning permission for the Thames Gateway desalination plant.

Thames Water CEO David Owens said: “Today’s news is a victory for common sense. Our draft Water Resources Management Plan published only last week highlights how London's rapidly growing population will be at increased risk of water restrictions in future droughts if we don’t have additional sources of water.

“The desalination plant is a vital part of our response to this situation, and we are committed to getting it built as quickly as possible, so it is available to provide more safe, clean drinking water to Londoners by 2010.

“Desalination is a more energy intensive process than conventional water treatment processes, which is why we have committed to only running the plant when it is essential, and to providing 100 per cent of the power needed to run it from renewable energy.

“We are encouraged that the Mayor has dealt with this issue so early in his time in office, and hope to enjoy as productive a relationship with him as we did his predecessor. We look forward to working closely with him on a number of environmental initiatives which will improve lives for Londoners.”

Work has begun on constructing the plant, in Beckton, East London, with completion expected in late 2009. The plant, when operational, will produce around 140 mega litres of water a day (140,000,000 litres), enough for 400,000 households, helping to guarantee the security of London’s future water supplies.

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