Sweet smell of success in battle over Mogden stench

Court verdict forces Thames Water to take action

Hounslow Council has been successful in its battle to improve the quality of life for local residents living near Mogden Sewage Treatment Works, following a ruling ordering Thames Water to take action to tackle the smell from the site.

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Following a hearing in September, Feltham Magistrate’s Court upheld the Council’s original abatement notices (issued in July 2001), on the grounds that the smell from the sewage works did cause a statutory nuisance to local residents. Thames Water has been given two years to comply with the notices.

The judge said “I am satisfied that there existed and continues to exist a level of malodour which amounts in law to a nuisance…it cannot be right to say that local residents should have to suffer nuisance simply because the works happen to be there.”

The verdict follows last year’s High Court ruling that sewage works were classed as ‘premises’ under parts of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 (Section 79 (1) d.

Cllr Ron Bartholomew, Hounslow’s Executive Member for Enhancing our Environment, said: “Residents have been subjected to an unacceptable quality of life as a result of the smell from the sewage works, which is why we took action against Thames Water in 2001 and served abatement notices on the grounds of statutory nuisance.

“I welcome this decision as an important step in the fight to improve the environment for the local community. It is also a vindication of all the work Hounslow Council and the residents have done, and I would urge Thames Water to work with them to abate this problem for the benefit of everyone concerned.”

Ann Keen MP (Isleworth & Brentford) endorsed the decision, saying: "This is a victory for local people. A long-overdue and common sense decision has been taken by the court, and I welcome it wholeheartedly.

“I have worked with residents on this problem over many years, liaising with the Council, Thames Water and government ministers. I pay tribute to the work of residents, London Borough of Hounslow councillors and officers, the government and all those who have campaigned so hard to raise the profile on Mogden Sewage Treatment works and ensure justice is done."

Thames Water has 21 days to decide if they wish to lodge an appeal.

8 Nov 2004