Thames Water’s woes have continued after it emerged that the water giant clocked up the biggest fines for pollution in England and Wales last year.
During 2005 it was fined £128,000, including £110,000 for separate incidents in 2003 when it killed 20,000 fish by polluting two rivers with sewage.
The revelation comes just weeks after it escaped a fine for failing to meet its water leakage target for the fourth year running. Instead, the company, which loses 894 million litres a day, has promised to spend an extra £150 million on improvements to the mains.
Thames Water was one of four water and sewerage firms in the list of top ten polluters compiled by the Environment Agency, the public body which works to improve the environment in England and Wales. Other polluters in the top ten included waste, chemical and construction firms.
After cleaning up their act in 2004, water and sewerage companies caused more than a quarter of all serious industrial pollution incidents last year, up 17 per cent on the previous 12 months.
Of those, Thames Water caused the most incidents (31), while United Utilities in northwest England and Dwr Cymru in Wales more than doubled the number of serious incidents they caused, with 23 and 17 incidents respectively.