To: Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

Stop the Thames Water Rip-Off

Stop the Thames Water Rip-Off

Dear Boris,

London’s rainwater run-off problem causes sewers to overflow, but Thames Water’s ‘super sewer’ is not the solution. 14 million of their customers, both in and outside London, would have to pay dozens of £billions over its lifetime, through a permanent 25% average increase on their water bills, for an asset which they would not own. Pensioners would be paying for something they may not live to see, and the young would carry the cost for the rest of their lives.

We are calling on you to champion Green Infrastructure, the cheaper, sustainable, more effective solution to the issue of rainwater management. Unlike the tunnel, this would mitigate the related issues of drought, floods, climate change, improve urban air quality, create local jobs for the long term and foster a healthier environment.

We need you to stand up for Londoners and Thames Water customers - stop the government from giving the go ahead for the Thames Tunnel.

-- Note: although addressed to Boris Johnson, this petition also directly concerns around 6m people outside London who pay their sewerage charge to Thames Water, as well as *all* UK taxpayers, committed by the Government to support the Tunnel for an uncapped amount, through the Water Industry (Financial Assistance) Act 2012.

Why is this important?

Rather than paying for the 25km tunnel themselves, despite cashing in billions in dividends over the last few years - and paying no UK tax in the last three! - the overseas bankers who control Thames Water expect their customers to stump up the cash. The project also needs to be underwritten by the taxpayer because it's too risky to insure.

To put that in perspective, the Tunnel would cost a 20 years-old over £13,000 over his/her lifetime. This is an optimistic scenario, assuming no further cost escalation (for a project whose estimate has already inflated almost 3x since being mooted) and that the taxpayer-backed blank cheque doesn't get used. This is about to become another "too big to fail" affair and the bailout facility - to a UK-tax evading offshore financial conglomerate - is already lined up.

Even worse, the 'super sewer' won't deliver a clean Thames for another 10-15 years - and even then, it's designed to spill 4 times a year, initially, causing yet more fish kills. Incidents and failures with this kind of infrastructure are a regular occurrence: in May 2013 a TW sewage treatment plant in West London leaked over 80,000m3 of sewage into the Thames, just days after a £140m upgrade (paid by us) was completed...

The enlightened alternative solution based on Green Infrastructure could start to deliver a clean Thames within 2 years, through infiltration, evaporation and attenuation of rainwater run-off, offloading sewers and plants from rainwater which should be treated as the precious resource it is. This can be implemented at far less cost to taxpayers and Thames Water customers. Allowing rainwater to infiltrate back to aquifers and harvesting it will help prevent droughts. The green industry thereby fostered will provide long term jobs. This solution will enhance everyone's quality of life. It WORKS - see this highly recommended 3 mins video for yourself:

This once-in-a-generation opportunity to help create a cleaner, sustainable and resilient environment is too precious to miss! You can find more information at

See the extent of the 14m TW sewerage customers zone here:

London, United Kingdom

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Reasons for signing

  • Water charges are JUST too high !
  • Any idiot can see it makes financial and environmental sense.
  • Experts have said (see the Guardian, November 2014) that since the tunnel was chosen, technology has moved on and there are much better, sustainable ways to manage flood water. And Thames Water itself says it expects to be supplying less water by 2030. Stop this madness.