Thames Water sought this month to draw a line below a terrible year, as Britain’s largest water utility faces a huge image cleanup challenge to match the billions of litres of sewage it leaked into the river which it takes its name.
Thames Water has suspended dividends to its shareholders this year as it attempts to clean up its image after coming under fire for polluting waterways, piling debt and paying no UK corporation tax.
In march a damning verdict in Aylesbury Crown Court Judge Francis Sheridan explained the scale of the contamination, which saw 1.5 billion litres of untreated waste introduced, intended senior management of this company must have been conscious of these breaches.
“The size of this fine is a significant reminder to investors and direction that companies must have effective systems and capacities in place to ensure regulatory compliance,” he explained.
The business triggered an outcry after it emerged that a £1bn was siphoned away from its previous owners over the last ten years, during which time Thames was held responsible for a devastating sewage leak into the Thames and paid hardly any company tax.
The company, which provides water and sewer services to 15 million clients, announced this month that it had appointed Ian Marchant as chairman to review its complex corporate structure. The same Ian Marchant, who was at the centre of one of the energy industry’s biggest mis-selling scandals. Marchant was chief executive of energy supplier SSE when it was fined £10.5million for mis-selling contracts to 20,000 households.