…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.
Iconic UK village, featured on passports, protests sewage dumping into river
Residents of Bibury in the Cotswolds, the village that features on the inside cover of all UK passports, are up in arms over sewage being pumped into the Coln River, rendering it murky brown and dangerous.
The town has seen dead fish floating through the river, and locals have been forced to abandon the idea of dipping their toes in the water, let alone allow children to wade through it.
The demonstration, organised by the Coln Residents Against Pollution group, aimed to draw attention to the problem and make Thames Water think twice before releasing untreated sewage into the river.
Residents don poo-related costumes to stage protest
On Earth Day, April 22, 2022, protesters gathered in front of the famous 14th-century cottages at Arlington Row donning poo-related costumes to catch the attention of Thames Water.
According to Coln Residents Against Pollution member, Katie Blackwell, the group wants to raise awareness about the issue and make the water utility realise the environmental consequences of its actions.
The town has witnessed sewage upstream and has resulted in cloudy water engulfing everything, dead fish floating in the river, and a lack of greenery.
Sewage damaging way of life in Bibury
The residents claim that sewage is now ruining the way they go about their lives. As the water is no longer safe to use, parents have stopped letting their children play in the water or hang out by the riverside.
The group is upset that they can no longer meet friends by the river or go camping down the riverbank, as they did before. They want to work with Thames Water to find a solution, but it is a struggle to get in touch with anyone from the company who can help.
Thames Water responds
Thames Water, in response to the protest, says it does not have a storm overflow point in Bibury. However, it claims to be working to take action on river health and make untreated sewage discharges unnecessary as soon as possible.
The company has an upgrade planned for Fairford sewage treatment works on the River Coln, which will increase treatment capacity and reduce the need for untreated discharges in wet weather.
Thames Water expects the project to be completed in 2025. The company is also investigating the impact of groundwater on the sewer network in the area to inform its long-term planning.