Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Ms Teams


No. Item




None were recevied.




Since the last meeting the Chairman had completed the following tasks:

·         Written to Thames Water (TW) and circulated their response.

·         The committee should consider when it would be the appropriate moment to write to OFWAT.

·         Taken part in discussions about how many Buckinghamshire Council (BC) councillors should be involved in this committee.

·         Brought Little Marlow parish councillors up to date on progress following the May 2021 election.

·         The chairman had recently updated the local Member of Parliament, Joy Morrissey.

·         It is planned to set up a Directory on the BC website to include all relevant correspondence between BC and TW, the EA and OFWAT.



Minutes from the previous meeting



Minutes from the meeting held 25 Match 2021 were AGREED as an accurate record.



Questions from the public pdf icon PDF 347 KB


Several questions had been circulated to Thames Water (TW) ahead of the meeting. Full copies of the questions would be appended to these minutes. Mr A Scott answered from his prospective as the TW Regional Operations Manager. He was unable to comment fully on future strategy which was managed by a separate team.


In response to the written questions from Cllr Wilson and questions from the Chairman, Mr Overall and Mr Emmett the following responses were made by Mr Scott:-


1.Prevention - Investment in Capacity, Capability & Processes

  • Mr Scott had been working with the engineering and asset management teams at Thames Water to understand the full scope of work needed to future proof the site.
  • Initial drafts were for 2 additional asset tanks, 25 meter in diameter with the new equivalents of the necessary inlet, distribution and return activated sludge (RAS) systems.
  • Costs would be in the region of £10m which was not included in the latest Assets Management Plan (AMP) cycle (2019-2024). Therefore, there would be an internal TW funding review process to satisfy before works could begin. TW were keen to invest time upfront in getting the right solution before starting works to avoid abortive costs.
  • Project timescales had not been defined, responsibility for timescales sat with the TW asset and project definition teams, but the installation of equipment was likely to take 2 years from when work on site began. This was due to the scale and complexity of the engineering work involved.
  • In response to challenge Mr Scott stated that with all existing tanks now fully operational there was no reason to believe the site would be regularly pumping raw sewage into local rivers due to lack of capacity while planning and installation was carried out. He noted that the recent mechanical failure was a once in 14-year event.
  • Mr Scott did not have figures to hand for the total additional capacity that would be provided by 2 additional tanks but stated they would give capacity for 1 of the 6 tanks to be taken offline entirely at any given time while still coping with maximum flow. ACTION Mr Scott
  • At the last meeting it had been stated that during lower flow in summer months the other tanks could be taken offline and drained to allow for a full inspection. Mr Scott explained that instead there had been an inspection of the equipment by the engineering team on site to install the replacement equipment. This had included oil analysis, looking at heat generation, photographic work and vibration monitoring. There were delays bringing the broken tank back online so none of the other tanks were taken offline to carry out these checks.


2. Future proofing - 1000+ Houses and Climate Change

  • The site had two strategies relevant to flow in place namely the Ground Water Impacted Management Plan (GISMP) and the Drainage and Wastewater Management Programme. Copies of these would be sought and added to the committee directory. ACTION Mr Scott/Ms Kenward
  • Currently more water was being  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Thames Water report


In addition to the questions above the following points were discussed:

·         TW were working through the Compliance Assessment Reports (CAR) provided by the Environment Agency (EA) after recent incidents and had sent their official response to the EA. Copies of the TW responses would be sought and added to the committee directory. ACTION Ms Kenward/Mr Scott

  • The TW Price Review Group and Ofwat were meeting as part of the 5-year price review cycle. The Chairman asked how this committee could support the review and Mr Scott would provide contact details to communication directly with the Price Review Group. ACTION Mr Scott



Environment Agency Report


Ms L Bee, Environment Agency (EA), referred to the last 3 Compliance Assessment Reports (CAR) carried out by the EA. Copies of these forms would be shared and uploaded to the committee directory. ACTION Ms Outhwaite/Ms Kenward


1.      March 2021 – arising from the equipment failure and subsequent sewage overflow. The investigation into the resilience was ongoing.

2.      May 2021 – arising from breaches that occurred after the equipment was repaired.  The EA had introduced 24/7 water monitoring and there had been no further breaches. Monitors were to be shortly removed for redeployment due to a limited number being available. Data would be shared and added to the committee directory. ACTION MS Bee/Ms Kenward

3.      July 2021 – Still to be issued. Arising from geese damaging powerlines and the failure of generators to come online. Sewage overflow had not reached the Thames. The EA would be pushing for resilience to prevent issues reoccurring.


·         There was a separate Enforcement Governance Group who would decide what action would be taken regarding these breaches once investigates were complete. The EA used a scale for consideration whether prosecution would take place.

·         Regarding timescales it was the investigation rather than the final decision that would take the most time and would be affected by EA resources. There was not a legislated timescale for a decision, but it was hoped a resolution could be made in the next few months. 

·         Mr Overall asked if the July 2021 incident had caused sewage overflow into Spade Oak Lake. Ms Bee would seek feedback on this. ACTION Ms Bee

·         Mr Scott stated the TW monitoring had found no evidence of the overflow making its way into the local watercourse.


Any other business


Mr Overall referred to reports he had received from Bucks Bird Club regarding the unexplained death of 20+ wild fowls and Egyptian Geese.  DEFRA had been informed of possible disease risk. There had also been anecdotal evidence of fish deaths which had not been supported by the local fishing club. However, there was no reason to believe there was issues with health of the lake.


The Chairman invited TW and the EA to comment on a news story from the Bucks Free Press website where a local man claimed to have contracted giardia disease from swimming in the Thames. Mr Scott stated that TW did not recommend

swimming in the Thames and could not comment on where the parasite came from. Ms Outhwaite stated the parasite could also be transmitted from animals and humans and the EA would only monitor areas of bathing water.



Date of next meeting


To be confirmed. Future meetings would be based on progress or if made necessary by further incidents.