Leighton Buzzard's MP reveals faulty valve disaster has cost Anglian Water £15m

It has been revealed that Anglian Water has lost £15m due to the faulty valve that caused the whole of Leighton-Linslade to be without water on a weekend in December.

Around 20,000 households were left struggling from Friday, December 13 - Monday, December 16, as families with no water flocked to Tesco Vimy Road and Brooklands Social Club to join long queues and collect water bottles.

Credit: Branko Bjelobaba

Credit: Branko Bjelobaba

In a bid to find out answers, South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous met Peter Simpson, the Chief Executive of Anglian Water, in the House of Commons on January 16.

Mr Selous was determined to find out what action Anglian Water was taking to prevent a re-occurrence of the water supply failure in Leighton Buzzard and also discovered the true cost of the disaster to the company.

Mr Selous told the LBO: "Around £700,000 of compensation has been paid out to 17,000 people typically ranging between £30 to £120 per household.

"The cost of the emergency response over the weekend in question was around £600,000 and the repair works have cost around £200,000.

Andrew Selous MP

Andrew Selous MP

"In addition, there is an overall performance loss to Anglian Water of around £13.5 million from the failure to provide water. This means the total loss to Anglian Water as a result of the incident is around £15 million.

"Anglian Water are installing two new air valves on the 24-inch water mains, one at Shenley Hill and one at the Heath and Reach reservoir outlet. They are also installing two new sluice valves as well as adding a new wash out at Steppingley. These works are scheduled to be completed by the middle of March this year.

"Peter Simpson said that his confidence in the robustness of the system has been 'massively' increased by these three actions."

Anglian Water is a privately-owned company and paid no dividends last year and is paying no dividends this year. The owners are Canadian and Australian pension funds, an Abu Dhabi fund and a number of United Kingdom local authority pension funds.

The company is paying £3,000 for a school pond restoration project in Leighton Buzzard as well as providing £10,000 to Leighton Linslade Town Council.

Mr Selous added: "Anglian Water will be coming to Leighton Buzzard on January 28 to make a full explanation to the people of the town for what went wrong and to explain the actions that they have taken subsequently to try to prevent a re-occurrence."

The meeting will take place at 7pm in Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre.

A number of residents have got in touch with the LBO claiming they have had difficulties receiving compensation. An update will be published in Tuesday's LBO.

Email details of your experience to: joanna.gravett@jpimedia.co.uk