The Secretaries of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and for Communities and Local Government have granted planning permission to Thames Water to develop the UK's first major desalination plant on part of the site of the existing Beckton Sewage Treatment Works in East London. The proposal was supported by the local planning authority but was the subject of a direction from the Mayor of London that planning permission should be refused. A lengthy public inquiry was held during the spring of 2006. The Thames Water's proposal would be used at times of supply pressure to treat water taken from the Thames for domestic consumption.
Keith Lindblom QC and Suzanne Ornsby represented Thames Water. Douglas Edwards appeared for the London Borough of Newham who, as the local planning authority for the application site, supported the proposal.