A local countryside campaign group has accused Thames Water of failing in its responsibility after the Environment Agency saw an increase in pollution in the River Pang.

The body of water situated across West Berkshire has seen a decrease in fish and a downgraded ecological status compared to previous reports by the Environmental Agency in 2019.

The Berkshire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England has said that this is due to repeated sewage discharges into the Pang, which flows into the Thames.

This comes as residents from a close-knit West Berkshire village expressed their concerns about polluted water leaking into the gardens of nearby homes.

The Agency also noted “a steady decline” in water quality in the Pang over recent years, as a result of increased pollution.

Greg Wilkinson, Chairman of CPRE Berkshire, said: “This situation is completely unacceptable. Thames Water must be held to account. They must be required to restore the River Pang to its former condition.”

CPRE is calling for the Environment Agency to “do all it can to bring Thames Water to book. The company should be penalised for these sewage discharges and must provide the resources and the manpower necessary to stop this pollution ever happening again in the River Pang.”

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “Taking action to improve the health of rivers is a key focus for us and there are a number of factors which will influence the ecological status of rivers. There were also no discharges of untreated sewage from our Hampstead Norreys, Pangbourne and Compton sites in 2022.

“We regard all discharges of untreated sewage as unacceptable and we have planned substantial investment in our local sewage treatment works to reduce the need for untreated discharges. This includes upgrades to our sewage works at Hampstead Norreys, Beenham, Bucklebury, Chapel Row, Compton and Pangbourne.

“At the beginning of the year we published an online map providing close to real-time information about storm discharges from all of our 468 permitted locations and this continues to be updated with information on improvements being planned for more than 250 sites across our region. 

“Addressing discharges will take time and sustained investment, however each step we take on this journey is a move in the right direction.”