20 May 2006

Knee deep in shit, 20 million tonnes in the smelly Thames

One big issue is infrastructure, privatised companies running the water pipes, gas and electricity networks have no economic (profit) incentive to spend the billions needed on these networks, so we are going to face energy shortages, droughts and the possibility of serious accidents. This article from the South London Press looks at Green Party efforts to stop sewage being shunted into the Thames. The Conservative Party who came up with privatisation need to be toilet trained.

Those who predict the on ward march of the iron law of oligarchy first thought up by social theorist Michels argue that all parties go bad, taken over by small elites, by leaders keen to make sure they attain power...those who don't support leaders are 'fundamentalist', 'not living in the real world', Michels pessimism led him to join the Italian Fascist Party.

Well, we have to watch out for the iron law but in the mean time Greens at least over here are doing some good.

Sewage storm causes a stink

May 19 2006

By Julia Lewis

URGENT action is needed to stop raw sewage ending up in the Thames.

The Green Party on the London Assembly wants an interceptor tunnel built to divert all surplus sewage straight to the Crossness treatment plant in Bexley.

They say unless the problem is solved by 2012, the floating sewage would be a source of major embarrassment to London, visible to thousands of visitors flocking to the capital for the Olympics.

At present, more than 20 million tonnes of untreated effluent enters the river each year, from 51 different locations.

In South London there are two outlets in Lambeth - one on either side of Vauxhall Bridge.

Southwark has three - one between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, another in Bermondsey and a third in Rotherhithe.

There are eight in Wandsworth - one either side of Wandsworth Bridge, one in Battersea, two in Nine Elms, one in central Wandsworth, one in west Putney and one by Putney Bridge.

There is one each at Deptford Creek, Greenwich and Charlton.

The sewage,which kills fish and poses a health hazard, enters the river whenever the existing sewerage system cannot cope.

The problem has arisen because of the capital's increasing population and climate change,which has put too much stress on the Victorian pipework.

Experts are proposing a 22-mile long interceptor under the Thames to collect the surplus sewage and transport it direct to Crossness.

On Tuesday, Green Party London Assembly member Darren Johnson tabled a motion asking London Mayor Ken Livingstone to outline when construction on the tunnel would need to start so that it would be in place in time for the Olympics.

Mr Johnson said: "The Thames should be one of London's greatest resources. Instead, it's turned into a polluted, stinking mess by the failure to update London's Victorian sewerage system.

"A new interceptor tunnel is the only workable solution but there has been no action from the Government."

According to a Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman, ministers are already discussing the matter. He said: "We are committed to action. The only issue is what course of action would be the most effective."

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