Thames Water is to face scrutiny by Bracknell Forest Council over pollution and sewage discharges into rivers, it has been decided.

The decision comes after the water company admitted to discharging sewage water into The Cut, in the north of Bracknell, for six hours earlier this month on Saturday, August 5.

And two days earlier, a resident, Sinisa Horvat reported seeing “oily sewage flowing into the river” as he walked by The Cut on Thursday, August 3.

A Thames Valley spokesperson confirmed: “Our EDM map indicates on Saturday, August 5, diluted wastewater was discharged into The Cut for six hours from our Bracknell sewage treatment works.”

In 2022, The Cut was polluted 42 times by a sewer storm overspill totalling 463.53 hours.

Bracknell Forest Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Commission voted to launch a “scrutiny review” of Thames Water, at a meeting on Wednesday, August 17.

The body – made up of selected councillors – could summon Thames Water bosses to answer questions as part of a “deep dive review” into issues affecting the council.

A full council meeting in July had voted unanimously to recommend that it does this, working with other councils across Thames Valley.

It recommended the commission “commits to work with other Local Authorities across the Thames Valley to challenge the failures of Thames Water to collectively minimise the environmental damage we are all facing.”

But the commission voted instead to have more freedom in how it conducts the review, rather than be tied to the full council’s recommendation. Councillors on the commission debated the best way forward.

READ MORE: Thames Water official says sewage discharges ‘unacceptable’

Speaking in favour of the council’s recommendation, councillor Gareth Barnard said: “The best bit about it was that the commission would work with the panels and others right across Berkshire to ensure that Thames Water were held to account for not just pollution that originates in Bracknell Forest but actually in the watercourses that pass through.”

He said that Overview and Scrutiny committees at neighbouring councils had also summoned Thames Valley bosses to speak to them, but had been “treated to the presence of what I would call fairly low-ranking officers in the organisation.”

But commission chair Georgia Pickering argued that the committee should “make decisions for itself.” Councillors voted that their panel should set up a review with a “revised scope” by four to one.

After the meeting, commission member Adrian Haffegee said he believed it would still want to work with other councils.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We need to have all different authorities working on that. It’s important that we do that.”