East Ham's MP has been on a fact-finding visit to the Beckton sewage works as it bids to go greener.

Sir Stephen Timms was shown around the treatment plant by Thames Water which says it is excluded from government funding to help produce environment-friendly “green gas” for the National Grid.

He was told of the company’s pledge to reduce the 250-acre site’s carbon emissions and to “unlock benefits of energy conversion” to heat 3,500 homes in the Beckton area.

“Thames Water raised important issues with me about government help for schemes of this kind,” the MP said. “I learned about plans to make biomethane sustainably and have written to the minister about them.”

The visit to Beckton, which serves a population of four million across east London, was to see how sewage sludge could be used to produce biomethane as a source of energy to heat people’s homes.  

This is in line with a government scheme to invest in new biomethane conversion plants to increase the ratio of “green gas” in the National Grid.  

But existing plants like Beckton aren’t included, Thames Water said.

The company's head of energy Stephanie Baker said: “The water sector has a significant role in renewable energy, with the benefits of investing in biomethane conversion.   

“This would help reduce our emissions and our carbon footprint too.”   

The company wants investment from Whitehall and has been campaigning to extend the “green gas” fund to include existing treatment works like Beckton. It says it is in talks with the government on the possibility on widening the funding.

Thames Water currently collects 4.6 billion litres of waste a day from 15 million households across the south east. It predicts a growing demand for biomethane as a cost-effective way of using energy. 

The company is aiming “to be carbon neutral by 2030”, having already cut emissions by 70 per cent since 1990.