Swindon Borough Council media release logo

Burst water mains, flooding, and sewage being pumped into local waterways are just some of the issues councillors want to question Thames Water about at their next meeting.

At Swindon Borough Council’s Scrutiny Committee meeting on Monday (18 March), councillors demanded answers following the severe disruption caused to local residents and motorists following the recent burst water mains at Mead Way and Wootton Bassett Road, which closed both roads.

And with several flooding incidents within the Borough over the last nine months and concern about waste being allowed to seep into rivers and streams, councillors have used statutory powers to insist the water company attends the first Scrutiny Committee of the municipal year in June.

Scrutiny Committee member, Councillor Neil Hopkins, said the water company needed to be held accountable and explain what it is doing to improve its water and sewage network in Swindon.

He said: “Thames Water have caused misery to local residents over the last few days with the recent burst water mains and it is becoming a recurring theme.

“The water main at Mead Way has burst three times. It is clear the Borough’s water network has not had the necessary maintenance and investment over many years and we want Thames Water to tell us what it is doing to tackle the problem.”

Councillor Dale Heenan, Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, said: “A little known feature of the Scrutiny Committee is that we can compel utility companies and other organisations to attend a meeting and explain what they are doing.

“Flooding has been a regular topic throughout the last six months, and the first ever section 19 investigation has started. With the increased number of problems of burst pipes, sewage in rivers, delays in undertaking work in major projects, it is right that we ask Thames Water to talk us through the issues we have experienced in Swindon and to give us some assurances that the water company has a plan to resolve them.

“These statutory powers have not been used in the last 10 years, so with cross-party political support, I was very keen that we use them to compel Thames Water to attend the first meeting of the Council year on 17 June. We have already written to the company. It is important we get some answers.”

Leader of Swindon Borough Council, Councillor Jim Robbins, added: “This is exactly the sort of thing the Scrutiny Committee should be doing and I would like to thank the chair and the other committee members for demanding answers from Thames Water on some serious issues.

“Enough is enough. We will do all we can to hold Thames Water to account for our residents so they do not have to put up with burst water main after burst water main. It’s like ground hog day.

“We also want assurances that the company will not hold up our scheme to improve Fleming Way as any further delay will cost the Council millions of pounds it doesn’t have. I look forward to seeing a senior representative of the water company at the next committee.”

flooded street