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Open Letter: Reflecting on Leighton Linslade and Leighton Buzzard water supply recovery

16 December 2019


From Peter Simpson, Chief Executive, Anglian Water:


This weekend was a huge challenge for our company, and for one of the communities that relies on our service. A faulty valve on a water main in Leighton Buzzard left thousands of people off water.


Although we were able to fix this initial problem, it was followed by issues with air trapped in pipes, restricting local supply. Work we did meant the number of people affected kept getting smaller, but – regrettably – some went the whole weekend without a reliable water supply.


I want to say sorry personally to the customers who were affected. I spent both Saturday and Sunday on the scene, in and around Leighton Linslade, speaking to many customers face to face. I listened to their frustrations, while reassuring them that we were on the case.


The reliable service they expect from us fell short. I understand that, and I will personally oversee a thorough review and ensure we learn lessons from the incident. We will also be contacting everyone affected regarding compensation once the situation is fully resolved, and to discuss how we make amends to the community.


Alongside this apology to the community I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues from across Anglian Water who I witnessed first hand working tirelessly round the clock all weekend to fix the network, hand out bottled water, and deliver supplies to vulnerable customers. Many volunteered their weekends to do this, alongside a number of local community groups, and I am very grateful for that.


This was a complex engineering job, far more challenging than might appear on the surface. It was only solved by a team working together to chip away at the problem, 24 hours a day. An incident like this is thankfully very rare for Anglian Water, and many of the challenges we encountered we simply could not have foreseen.


We will be keeping a very close eye on the local network over the coming days to ensure everything is working as it should. The recovery period is as important as the fix itself, and we won’t take our eye off the ball.


We will be working with community representatives to understand how we can best make amends for the disruption this incident caused. In the meantime, and while things return to normal for your community, please accept my sincere apologies.