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Environmental Valuation in Developed Countries

Case Studies

Edited by David Pearce

This is the second of two volumes of case studies that illustrate how environmental economists place values on environmental assets and on the flows of goods and services generated by those assets. This important book assembles studies that discuss broad areas of application of economic valuation – from amenity and pollution through to water and health risks, from forestry to green urban space. In this, his last book, the late David Pearce brought together leading European experts, contributors to some two dozen case studies exploring the frontiers of economic valuation of natural resources and environmental amenity in the developed world.
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Chapter 14: The Value of a Tidier Thames: Willingness to Pay to Reduce Sewage Overflow

Susana Mourato, Ece Özdemiroglu, Giles Atkinson and Yvette de Garis


s Susana Mourato, Ece Özdemiroğlu, Giles Atkinson, Jodi Newcombe and Yvette de Garis INTRODUCTION The River Thames is well known worldwide as the body of water that weaves its way through Central London and past some of its most famous views: Greenwich, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and Hampton Court, to name but a few. One-third of the river – the section that runs through all of London, from Teddington in West London out to the seaward limit – is tidal and known as the Thames Tideway. The Thames Tideway has suffered from severe pollution many times over the past 200 years. In the 1950s there was virtually no life in the river. However, thanks to a number of efforts since the 1970s, most importantly in the treatment of sewage, there has been a steady improvement in water quality. Today, the river supports a diversity of fish life, including 120 different fish species. The waters naturally appear brown in colour, not because they are dirty, but because of the sand that is being continually stirred up from the river bed with the fast flowing water. In fact there are claims that the Thames Tideway can now be considered one of the cleanest metropolitan rivers in the world (Thames Water, 2002). However, untreated sewage still finds its way into the Thames on a regular basis. This is because London’s complex drainage system, which dates back to the late nineteenth century, is ‘combined’. This means it carries both human...

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