Ann Keen Meets Thames Water Privately To Discuss Mogden

MRAG and ICG wished she'd consulted residents first

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Mogden Residents' Action Group (MRAG)

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Thames Water to Expand Mogden

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Ann Keen MP met with a senior Director from Thames Water on the 22nd August, 2009 to raise concerns about Mogden. She said:

“Following my meeting with Thames Water on 22nd August, I raised with them the serious concerns from residents regarding the continuing foul smell from Mogden sewerage and the detrimental effect this has on the lives of the people in the local  area.

Thames Water assured me that they recognised and understood the concerns of residents and that the odour was unacceptable. They informed me that they would be meeting with residents’ groups in September to hear recent concerns first hand and to update them on future improvement work at the site.  I was also delighted to hear from Thames Water  that the planning approval has been granted (subject only to a section 106 agreement being finalised) for the additional  treatment stream which will increase the treatment capacity of Mogden sewage works by around 40%.  This will greatly reduce both  the number of overflows to the river and the number of occasions when the storm tanks have to be used.

 I would like to thank all the residents that have contacted me regarding this issue.   I am committed to improving the lives of the local community and in particular with regard to the problems associated with the Mogden sewage works."

Local action group MRAG commented that "The Mogden Residents' Action Group (MRAG) regrets the unilateral visit by Ann Keen MP to Thames Water, which took place without any consultation with residents, and in particular her support for the expansion of the plant which residents believe will result in more odour.

"Approval for  expansion of the plant was moved and seconded by Hounslow's Labour Group despite vehement opposition from residents of both Hounslow and Richmond Boroughs which included a plea for rejection following evidence by MRAG's Environmental Scientist, Barry Edwards."

"The meeting followed threats made on local internet forums by a spokesperson for Mrs. Keen that she would be engaging with Thames Water separately from residents rather than working with them, an act which would seem designed to undermine residents' unity at this important stage in our fight to compel both Thames Water and the London Borough of Hounslow to honour their responsibilities to the local community.

"MRAG will continue to work with and represent residents in their dealings with Thames Water and the local authority and continues to seek and welcome the support of any local representatives, of whatever political allegiance or persuasion, who wish to work constructively with us."

Also, The Independent Community Group (ICG) has criticised Labour MP Ann Keen for her discourtesy after she met Thames Water bosses in private session to discuss the Mogden odour problem without seeking a briefing from nor even notifying residents who have been campaigning for many years for action to be taken.

ICG councillors also expressed their extreme regret at Mrs. Keen's expression of support, following the meeting, for the expansion of the plant, which residents believe will lead to increased odour levels.

Isleworth community councillor Phil Andrews commented: "A spokesperson for Mrs Keen recently announced that she and her party intended to work separately from residents on the Mogden issue as they didn't wish to be involved with the resident-led campaign.  We regard this as a divisive strategy and one which can only impede progress.

"Residents have enough to contend with with the continued bad faith demonstrated by Thames and the institutional unwillingness of the local authority to support residents, without also having to overcome silly political games being played by the MP and her band of helpers, some of whom are being brought in from outside the borough as her local support diminishes beyond the point of critical mass."

The ICG reasserted its unequivocal support for the resident-led Mogden Residents' Action Group (MRAG), which has represented the community neighbouring the Isleworth plant for several years.

August 26, 2009

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