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The new £200m plant in Beckton plans to turn salt water into drinking water, making water from the Thames estuary drinkable.

Recently-elected Boris Johnson has agreed to withdraw the legal challenge to Thames Water’s plans in exchange for a series of environmental measures from the company.

Thames Water announced the plant would be fuelled with 100% renewable power.

Ken Livingston had launched the legal challenge against the East London plant on environmental grounds, claiming cleaner, cheaper and less wasteful alternatives should be found.

Mr Johnson said that there can be no risk of London running out of water at times of drought and spoke of his satisfaction of Thames Water’s environmental commitments.

“This is a fantastic and wide-ranging package of measures agreed with Thames Water showing what can be achieved when a collaborative approach is taken to solving the issues facing London,” said Mr Johnson.

Last month a US national research panel report concluded that studies needed to be done to assess the environmental affects of desalination to boost fresh water supplies.

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