Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Mogden - at last a politician speaks out!

Liberal Democrat councillor and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Andrew Dakers (left), backed by the respected Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham Dr. Vince Cable, has come out openly in support of local residents suffering the blight of Mogden Sewage Treatment Works.

Acknowledging the misery that has been ignored by politicians of many political persuasions and timeserving chief officers at the local authority, Andrew has called publicly for the covering by Thames Water of the six remaining storm tanks at Mogden by the end of 2010 irrespective of whether the wealthy utility company is permitted by OFWAT to raise the money from its own long-suffering victims as opposed to committing a tiny proportion of its vast profits towards discharging its legal responsibilities to its neighbours.

Presently Thames Water is quite brazen about its unwillingness to honour its obligations either to the surrounding community or to the environment in general by dipping into its own resources to enable it to function responsibly and within the law. Sadly it has fallen upon residents themselves to bring them to book, and at present 1,400 local people are party to a Group Litigation which seeks to compel Thames to comply with environmental legislation.

Andrew announced last week:
“I welcome the initiative led by Cllr Jon Hardy to establish a 24hr telephone line and mobile odour recording facility in the past few weeks.

“If the Council is to take further action to halt the odour problem it is now vitally important that residents report instances of odour to the hotline: 020 8583 5555 during office hours (Monday – Friday 8.45am to 5pm) and 020 8583 2222 out of hours (5pm – 8.45am Weekdays / all weekend).

“Residents should also ensure that all complaints are emailed to MRAG (mrag27@aol.com) for logging and investigation.

“Given the continued impact of Mogden odour on the local community, I support (ICG) Cllr Hardy’s endeavour to serve an abatement notice on Thames Water.

“It would be great to see Thames Water take the lead in ending the odour blighting residents lives and bring this costly debate to an end, rather than leaving residents suffering for what could be at least five years.

“Only two of eight storm tanks are currently covered. Waiting another four or five years until the current expansion programme is completed to discover whether use of the storm tanks has lessened and the odour abated is not good enough. If your child can not concentrate on their homework because of the odour, as many residents have complained to me, then you have good reason for continued concern.

“Thames Water management should begin planning the investment immediately to cover the remaining storm tanks. This should no longer be considered dependent on a contribution by OFWAT but good management of the plant.

“My suggestion is that Thames Water focus on covering an additional three storm tanks by the end of March 2010 and, if the odour has not reduced substantially during next summer, the final three by the end of next year.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that relative to expanding the sewage works, covering the storm tanks should neither be considered prohibitively expensive nor a particularly lengthy build.”

Hopefully other politicians will now finally realise that there is a huge constituency of residents living around the Mogden plant who have been sold short and will be forthcoming with their own offers of support. Thames Water has lived for too long off the passivity and lack of respect for our community that has been demonstrated hitherto by so many who ought to know better. Let's hope Andrew's support will turn the tide in our community's favour.

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