Here is what you have been writing to us about this week.

Good to see that Steve Backshall is using his celebrity voice to condemn the sewage spills in the Thames in the BFP.

However, the issues are far more complex than just occasional releases from Thames Water’s Little Marlow plant.

Firstly, Thames Water is owned by a convoluted list of overseas investors, so accountability is obscure and out of touch with we “customers” of any aspect of their business; the regulator (OFWAT) probably has little real influence over their behaviour.

As mentioned in the report, they were fined over £20 million in recent years for a number of “spillages”, one of which wiped out most living things in the river Thame.

The fine sounds substantial to most of us, but would probably have been seen as a hiccup on the accounts by Thames Water. Anyway, who ultimately pays?

Answer: the customers.

Secondly, our primitive management of rainwater. The country’s infrastructure and building regulations continue to use materials and designs that channel all rainwater into the drains and then to sewers, thus overloading the treatment plants in periods of heavy rain.

One answer is on the previous page to the spillage item - “flood resilience measures”.

This covers a report on the trial of a Flood Alert App and also a programme (to be trialled in Slough) providing porous roads and other permeable surfaces to allow rainwater to pass into the ground (where it would go if mankind were not constructing things).

Add to this a new maxim that “if the rain falls here, that’s where it should go into the ground” for all new construction, using local soakaways if necessary - this could be cheaper than providing/enlarging the drains under every road.

Overall, we need to enable a slower natural filtration process and replenish groundwater - helpful when we have frequent drought warnings shortly after the rain stops.

John Collins, Bourne End

To send your own letter, email

Please note, any letters sent to the Bucks Free Press office are only being picked up periodically as all staff are still working from home.