Monday, May 12, 2008

Water Wise

Tap waterFrom Building News

Johnson drops objection to London desalination plant

High Court appeal against Thames Water power station lodged by Ken Livingstone dropped by new mayor
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has approved Thames Water's plans to build a £200m desalination plant at Beckton, East London. The former mayor Ken Livingstone had appealed against the building of the plant to the High Court, arguing that it was too energy-intensive and that Thames Water should spend the money assigned for the plant on fixing its existing system.
But Johnson has dropped the legal challenge after agreeing a package of environmental measures with the water provider. These include using heat and waste energy from the proposed plant to provide heating and water for nearby homes, and setting up pilot projects to reduce the number of traffic closures due to mains replacement works. The generator that will run the plant will be powered with 100% renewable fuel.
The government approved plans for the Barking Power Station in August last year. When completed, it will allow the use of desalination technology to provide drinking water for Londoners in the event of droughts or clean water shortages.
Johnson said: "We cannot risk London running out of water at times of drought, but this cannot be at any cost. Thames Water has satisfied me that the desalination plant will minimize its impact on the environment by using renewable energy, and by being used only when absolutely necessary. This is a good deal for Londoners."

See also Thames Water


  1. So hopefully, at long last, we will stop wasting energy by-products; perhaps we can then move on to utilising incineration plants in the same way.

  2. Not a good analogy, Judith.

    Here energy is being used to produce one of life’s necessities, drinking water. One suspects that in the past the energy by-products would have been wasted, but here to everyone’s credit they are being harnessed and put to good use.

    Incineration has a role to play, for example with medical waste, but as an alternative to other methods it sucks. It has no product, unless you count an empty space that was formerly full of “rubbish”. Except, it’s not “rubbish”, it is material that could be re-used or recycled, and mostly could and should not have been used in the first place.

    I have lost count of the times I have accepted a “free gift” with a purchase only for it to clutter up my home for years, unused, before I throw it away. Charity shops do not accept electrical goods. I no longer accept them, and my son, who last week cleared out his garage, has just learnt his lesson.

    The energy by-product of Incineration is at the cost of the materials destroyed. That is not a good deal.

    Waste should be addressed where the chain starts, not where it ends!

  3. Sorry thought you had seen all the blurb - I also do lots of stuff for LBWF and i understand LBR was missed out of the 'consultation'. Hope the great Coversation Takes Note!
    LBWF have the worst "deal" Whipps Cross, Bushwood, Lakehouse Road are all being scarred by these works, the pipeline will go all the way up to Waterworks Corner (top of Forest Road Walthamstow)
    The pipeline is from Beckton to The underground reservoir at Waterworks Corner and will feed the Lee reservoirs if pushed.
    Some reports said it was going to Waltham Abbey - this should be Waltham Forest LB.
    LBR at Woodcote Road, Wanstead only have the inconvenience of the footpaths across the forest being blocked until the job is done "whenever" that will be.
    Its mainly for the Olympic Site but, apparently it has to join up with the reservoir at Forest Road, Walthamstow due to pumping "outfall" etc. the water can't just sit in the pipe waiting for the showers to turn on in the Olympic Village.
    Hope this briefly helps
    Richard Cooper
    Redbridge Flood Forum and River Lee Forum.

  4. PS. must be all that water and my age hehee - Not sure Boris can take the credit? the pipe-works started long before the GLA-Mayoral election. See Bush Road, Leytonstone and Lakehouse Road, Leyton/Wanstead.
    the Green Man Roundabout and Whipps Cross Road (hollow ponds area) are comparatively recent preparation for excavation - the pipe will be hydraulically pushed underground - and these sites are needed to remove the spoil.
    Talk about moles in your prize lawn.
    Richard Cooper

  5. Just for clarity the above two comments are in response to me asking Richard if this had anything to do with Barhale digging up Wanstead Flats.

  6. Good to see Boris mending a few of the fences that Livingstone damaged whilst in office. Plans to keep the city growing mean that extra drinking water must be provided - perhaps new developments could take account of drinking water shortage and provide for rain / recycled water to be used for other domestic purposes e.g. toilet flushing, garden watering, car washing.

  7. As Richard stated "not sure Boris can take all the credit"
    As I see it, this request for a desalination plant at Beckton was
    made by TW when London was suffering a major drought,if I remember correctly a hose-pipe ban had been in force for over a year.
    Shortly after London had just won stageing the Olympics,I attended a GLA meeting, with our Richard, Ken was Chair as usual. A member of the audience (me) on hearing that Ken had refused TW
    permission to build this plant, asked Ken if he had considered what an embarrassing situation would arise if London run out of water during the Olympics.
    Kens reply was 'He felt enough rain was falling on London, TW should first look at their existing piework to save waste before installing this plant and
    he said above all the desalination plant TW were planning was not
    eco-friendly. He said he would be happy to look into the matter again, if designs were made to improve it, making it more 'Green.
    So really Ken was right but Boris has got the right attitude too.
    Just as a side issue to this
    the City of London about a year ago started removing all the rare and precious wildlife, plants etc that would be in the line of the massive pipe laying project.
    Ron King