A £250million emergency drought plant constructed by Thames Water may have been shut down because ‘of the cost of electricity on it’, a local MP has claimed.
The Beckton desalination plant in east London was promised as a major reserve of potable water to cope with drier UK summers – but in a summer that has already seen the hottest temperatures ever recorded, it is out of use.
Desalination plants turn seawater into fresh water using a process called reverse osmosis and is energy-intensive, requiring both electricity and heat.
According to Thames Water, the plant costs around £660 per million litres to run compared to £45 per million litres for a standard plant.
Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, questioned whether the closure was because ‘they aren’t willing to pay and run it’.
He told The Telegraph: ‘It does seem puzzling to me when clearly we are in a situation which is exactly the kind of situation where this plant was intended to help us, it seems very strange that…