'˜Why do Luton's water bills pay for London's Thames Tideway Tunnel?'

Confused Luton Thames Water customers are wondering why their bills are paying for projects in London.

Thames Tideway Tunnel
Thames Tideway Tunnel

A resident of the Bushmead and Biscot area of Luton is concerned that residents’ waste water charges had increased by around 3.6%.

His Thames Water leaflet stated this rise included inflation, and investments, such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

The new project is a 15-mile-long sewer that will capture millions of tons of sewage, which would be otherwise overflow into the tidal River Thames.

But the resident claimed: “I don’t know why they are making us pay for the tunnel - it says around £13 of the average household bill for 2016/17 will go towards the project! But our wastewater doesn’t go to London or Thames Valley!”

However, a spokesman from Thames Water said: “This is a must-do project, giving greater capacity to a sewer system built in the 1850s.

“The total cost of the project for bill payers over time will be between £20-25, before inflation. £13 of that total is already accounted for in today’s bills and that will not change for the new pricing year.

“The cost is always spread across the entire customer base as this is the fairest way to do it. So any major work in Luton is helped to pay for by people in London, and vice versa. Milton Keynes residents have also helped fund investment to protect beaches far away in East Anglia.

“Most of our customers live in London. They provide huge financial support for non-London customers, who would be faced with considerable costs if investments in their areas were funded only by local bill-payers.

“All water industry price limits are set independently by the industry regulator Ofwat, to protect customers. See: https://corporate.thameswater.co.uk.”

The tunnel project is being delivered by a separate company, known as Tideway, and will be completed by 2023.