Developing our proposals
Our proposals for the Teddington Direct River Abstraction project have been overseen by RAPID, a partnership made up of the three water regulators – Ofwat, the Environment Agency (EA) and the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). RAPID have implemented a ‘gated’ regulatory process which includes regular checkpoints to make sure that all new strategic water supply options are considered in a fair and consistent way, with transparency, and that our customers’ money is spent wisely.
More information about RAPID and the gated process can be found here. You can also find the technical reports, additional information provided to RAPID, and feedback relating to the Teddington Direct River Abstraction project here. So far, we’ve completed initial assessments, including environmental and water quality monitoring. The results showed that the project presents a low risk to the environment, which can be mitigated.
We’re continuing to carry out more detailed assessments, working with the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Drinking Water Inspectorate and other key stakeholders. We’ll also need to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment to identify and assess the potential positive and negative impacts the project might have on the environment.
We're listening to concerns raised by local communities about the perceived public health and environmental impacts of the project.
We recently held a public consultation on potential site options for the proposed new pipeline route. This was our first site-specific consultation for this project and there will be other opportunities for you to share your views to help shape the proposals before we apply for consent to build.
Securing planning consent for the project
We have carefully considered how we should approach the planning and consent stages for the Teddington Direct River Abstraction project (the Project), bearing in mind the scale and amount of development that need to be consented, constructed and operated. We’ve also considered the timelines we need to meet, both through the regional plan and our own revised draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024 (WRMP), which lays the foundation for a wide range of solutions to plug the shortfall between the amount of water we have and the amount we need. In these plans, the Project needs to be operational by 2033.
There are two routes to obtaining planning consent, either through the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or under the Planning Act 2008 and the Development Consent Order (DCO) process. Under the Planning Act 2008, a developer can seek a Section 35 Direction from the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to establish whether or not a project should be treated as being a development of national significance for which a DCO is required.
Thames Water submitted an application to the Secretary of State for a Section 35 Direction in relation to the Project in November 2023. Confirmation was subsequently received from the Secretary of State in December 2023 that the Project should be treated as a development of national significance for which a DCO is required.
The DCO process will allow opportunities for people to have their say on the Project before a final decision on whether to allow consent is made by the Secretary of State. Local and regional concerns will play a crucial role in the DCO application process, with opportunities for local authorities and community groups to participate at various stages, including pre-application, submission, examination and post-approval.
Before formally applying for a DCO, Thames Water must conduct public consultations and consider community feedback. The adequacy of these consultations is assessed by the Planning Inspectorate before the DCO application is accepted for examination.