Corporate Responsibility

Liaising with elected representatives.

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Working with political stakeholders and the communities we serve is essential to delivering good customer service. Our region is served by over 100 local authorities and 143 MPs. We proactively engage with them about our work and how it may impact their area. This year we’ve attended approximately 200 meetings with councillors, MPs, officials and community groups covering a range of issues and projects from burst water pipes to drainage catchment plans.

Engaging on water efficiency with the Mayor of Bexley.

We know our stakeholders expect us to play an active role in shaping the future direction of the sector, ensuring our entire supply region receives a reliable service. We proactively engage in discussions with Members of Parliament, peers, Council leaders and London Assembly Members, across a diverse range of issues that affect water, wastewater and the wider environment, as well as changes to the legislative agenda.

Stakeholder feedback is valuable in helping us improve how we deliver projects, and to inform our future plans. We regularly invite stakeholders to our operational sites to give them a better insight into the work we are doing in their respective areas. We also encourage stakeholders to engage with us on emerging topics of key significance in their local areas.

London.

The heavy snow and freezing temperatures throughout February and March 2018 followed by a rapid thaw had a heavy impact on our region. Between 2 and 3 March, water demand increased by around 270MLd, with 70% of this increase due to bursts on customer side pipes. This led to some customers experiencing supply interruptions or having lower than normal pressure for several days. Since the bursts, we have worked hard to build relationships with the local communities affected, providing one-to-one meetings, drop-ins and formal public meetings as well as serving as a first point of contact for elected representatives. In recognising the seriousness of this incident, we continue to engage with a number of stakeholders, including emergency planners in local authorities and other resilience partners to work collaboratively on plans for responding to similar incidents in the future.

We’re aware of the disruption our streetworks can sometimes have on communities, commuters and local businesses. We are pioneering a pilot scheme called ‘Thames Connect’ where utility companies share and evaluate project planning data to better coordinate streetworks and identify future opportunities where working together may be possible. We hope to coordinate with other utilities, plan better, save on resources but most importantly of all, limit the impacts on our customers where possible. Click on the case study below to find out more.

Our smart metering programme continues to be rolled out across London, putting our customers in control of their water usage. We continue to engage with councillors and local communities across each of the 14 boroughs where we are currently installing this innovative technology. Our smart metering engagement bus has been visiting community events this summer, giving residents the opportunity to speak to our team about the introduction of smart meters in their homes. We aim to highlight the benefits of our programme and help the business promote our wider water efficiency drive, which is crucial with a changing climate and growing population. Click on the case study below to find out more. Community engagement plays an important part in maintaining relationships with our customers, and helps them to understand all the vital work we do to remove and clean their wastewater before returning it to the environment. We opened the doors of Mogden sewage treatment works, to give our customers and neighbours an opportunity to learn more about the site and meet our operational team. Click on the case study below to discover more.

The Thames Valley.

The focus of our engagement in the Thames Valley continues to centre on housing growth and the management of flood risk. The volume and scale of proposed housing across the Thames Valley is of great concern to many of the communities we serve, and so we continually assess opportunities for partnership working. We engage with local councils and community groups to better understand their local development plans and wider views, which we in turn use to help update our own infrastructure planning.

Engaging with our stakeholders on catering for additional demand on our water and wastewater services is particularly vital when considering plans for drainage infrastructure. We have formed partnerships across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds to investigate options for managing flood risk. These partnerships have been sharing information and resources to investigate whether it is possible to mitigate the level of flood water to reduce occurrences of sewer flooding to customers’ homes and businesses.

We held an open day at Aylesbury sewage treatment works, which was one of six sites in the Thames Valley where pollution incidents occurred between 2012 and 2014. The open day was held to show the public the progress we’ve made in preventing pollution incidents. Click on the case study below to discover more.