Bracknell Forest Council has ‘no control’ over Thames Water sewage discharges into the borough’s rivers, a new report has said.

The result of an investigation by councillors into what the council can do about sewage discharges into rivers such as The Cut was published on Thursday, May 16.

Christoph Erberle – the councillor who led the investigation – said: “We owe our residents to push for improving this clearly unacceptable situation.”

But the investigation found that there are ‘no direct ways for Bracknell Forest Council to improve the local situation for our residents’. That’s because councils don’t have the power to regulate water companies.

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However the report says it wants to set up a panel of all the councils in Berkshire to communicate with Thames Water. And it says it wants the council to look into how it can make sure planning rules take into account the impact of new housing on the water network.

Councillor Eberle had wanted the council to go further. In a previous report, he wanted the council to appoint a full time officer to communicate with concerned groups on water quality issues. And he wanted the council’s website to host water quality data on its own website.

But council officers worried that this would be too expensive – and could suggest that the council has more power than it does over Thames Water.

The new proposals are set to be debated by the council’s overview and scrutiny commission on Thursday May 23. If they agree, they will recommend council leaders take up the proposals.