ROYAL Borough councillors raised their concerns about pollution at the “very murky” looking River Thames.

After 15-minutes of bickering on who should be the chair and vice-chair of the newly formed place overview and scrutiny meeting, members spoke on a future agenda item about pollution in the river that goes through the borough.

The Environment Agency is responsible for looking after the River Thames. In 2020, national media outlets reported the river has some of the highest recorded levels of microplastics for any river in the world.

Councillors at the meeting on Tuesday, June 21, voiced their and their residents’ concerns about the Thames looking “very murky”.

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Cllr John Baldwin (Lib Dem: Belmont) said: “The River Thames is a major feature of the borough. It runs right through it and it touches the lives of a large majority of our residents in some way or another, not just in terms of bathing.

“Water quality is a matter that we need to be informed about by the Environment Agency and if there are areas that can be identified where we can cooperate with them, we certainly should.”

However, Cllr Julian Sharpe (Con: Ascot & Sunninghill) said: “We can call in the Environment Agency and have a moan to them, but actually it will have very little impact.

“It will be far better to have the lead member write to George Eustice, who is the Environment Secretary, and enter into the national debate, which is a far more sensible place to have this conversation rather than have a local moan at the Environment Agency.”

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A motion brought forward by the opposing Liberal Democrats at January’s full council did urge the council leader to write to the government outlining concerns about river pollution. Despite voting down the defeated motion, the leader did write to the government.

Panel members ultimately decided to try and get the Environment Agency in at a future meeting to discuss the pollution at the River Thames and what is being done to clean it.