Government U-turn on water companies dumping sewage

Government U-turn on water companies dumping sewage

The change of mind comes after a backlash from the public.

On Monday Town and Around reported that local MPs had rejected amendments to the Environment Bill which would place a duty on water companies to reduce raw sewage discharges into rivers.* 

Since the vote that saw MPs voting by 268 to 204 to defeat the amendment tabled in the Lords, MPs have complained of online abuse and claimed that the social media comment was 'inaccurate'.

The backlash from the public seems to have caused the Government to re-think and a statement released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) yesterday, says that the Environment Bill "will be further strengthened with an amendment that will see a duty enshrined in law to ensure water companies secure a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows."

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: "Earlier this summer, the Government published a new strategic policy priorities for Ofwat and the water sector asking them to significantly reduce the discharge of sewage from storm overflows in the next pricing review.

"Following a debate in the House of Commons last week during the final stages of the Environment Bill, today we are announcing that we will put that commitment on a statutory footing with a new clause.

When we have wet or stormy weather, waste water is released into rivers and coastal waters to prevent sewers getting overloaded by sewage which can then back up into homes and businesses.

Earlier this year the north coast sewers were being overwhelmed with raw sewage and effluent was streaming from pumping stations and manholes and sewage infected water was in the storm drains that empty into the harbour at Burnham Deepdale.

Jason Borthwick from Deepdale said: “The trouble is that there’s been a lack of investment over the years which is totally and utterly inexcusable."

Following the announcement Surfers against Sewage tweeted: "When people realise the power of their voice, it's a beautiful thing. Let's build on this momentum and shout as one for change to protect this blue planet."

*If you missed our previous article you can read it here:

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