South London 'Watergate' must lead to urgent reform

The word “Watergate” recently took on a new meaning when Streatham residents were left for days without any running water. Residents had no flushing toilets, showers or drinking water when pipes burst following freezing temperatures. A minimum of 12,000 households were affected and were asked to visit water distribution points – sometimes as far as half an hour from their homes – to pick up bottled water instead. In the days following, neighbouring areas like Tooting Broadway and Herne Hill also suffered severe, hard to manage pipe bursts.

Thames Water’s handling of the situation left residents disgusted, and has highlighted the need for an urgent investigation into the company’s operating model and ability to deliver a proper service. The company, which paid a hundred million pounds in dividends last year, moved slowly to make repairs and failed to meet a series of self-imposed deadlines. Communication was patchy and sometimes contradictory. The company failed to set up enough water distribution points, or to deliver water to members of the community who were unable to travel.

 

Ofwat, the regulator, recently fined Thames Water the maximum penalty for failing to meet leakage commitments. And the company has clearly ignored recommendations made at a public meeting in Lambeth in early 2017, demanding that it improve maintenance programmes and mitigate against the potential for more burst pipes.

While Thames’ woes are a current hot topic in the media, local Liberal Democrats have been pointing out the failures of the current system for many years.

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Lib Dems are the true pro-EU party, say Lambeth Liberal Democrat candidates

Eight Lambeth Lib Dem candidates signed on to a letter published in the Guardian, calling the Labour leadership out on its recent shift in Brexit position.

Our candidates joined one hundred other Lib Dem candidates from wards across London, as well as MPs Sir Vince Cable, Tom Brake, Ed Davey, and London AM Caroline Pidgeon.

 

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Support our 'Sack Southern!' campaign

Local residents surveyed by Streatham Wells Lib Dems said that making local rail services more reliable is a top priority on transport.

Commuters have put up with Thameslink and Southern Rail's incompetence and thoroughly dreadful service for far too long. According to the National Audit Office, our rail routes have consistently higher levels of disruption than anywhere else on the national rail network.

With their contract set to expire in 2021, we are calling for Thameslink and Southern to be sacked now and for Transport for London (TfL) to take over local rail services.Train_Station_web_res.png

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