London Mayor backs down on desalination
by David Masters
May 15, 2008
Boris Johnson, the new Mayor of London, has withdrawn a legal challenge against a desalination plant that will provide London with drinking water from the Thames Estuary.
The £200 million plant to be built in Beckton, East London, was opposed by Johnson’s predecessor, Ken Livingstone, on the grounds that it was too energy intensive.
Johnson has now agreed a series of environmental protection measures with the plant’s owners, Thames Water, and has pulled out of the high court battle.
The environmental measures include powering the plant with 100% renewable electricity, and using the waste heat energy from the plant to provide heating for local homes.
Announcing the decision, Johnson said that he is keen to ensure that London is never at risk of drought, even in times of low rainfall.
The plant is also expected to reduce the number of droughts that occur in south east England.
Thames Water have welcomed the decision to drop the case.
The Green party, however, is concerned that the plant will be a complete waste of renewable energy that could be used elsewhere, and will encourage Londoners to waste water.
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