When you go in the sea or a river that has raw sewage in it, you are likely to become ill, as is any marine life therein. The bacteria needed to decompose the sewage deoxygenates the water, thereby killing fish and other creatures.
It keeps happening, for example, at Kilkhampton Stw. In 2020 this sewer storm overflow spilled 144 times for a total of 2283 hours. Info from the Rivers Trust. The SW is high on the list of sewage discharge, according to this BBC Report.
The Environment Agency allows water utilities to release sewage into rivers and streams after extreme weather events such as prolonged heavy rain, to protect, they say, properties from flooding prevent sewage from backing up into streets and homes. It is not a satisfactory situation.
MPs recently voted against an amendment to the Environment Bill, introduced by the Lords, that would have legally compelled water companies to reduce their discharge of raw sewage into rivers and seas. We gave you Scott Mann’s statement here, where he said:
The Lords did add an additional amendment more recently on this subject, and I was one of several hundred MPs who voted against it. This is because the age of our sewerage system means that the complete elimination of storm overflows would be extremely challenging. Initial estimates of the work necessary to achieve this are in the region of £150 billion. To put that in perspective, that is more than the entire budget of the NHS. Faced with this cost, I could not support the more recent Lords Amendment and I hope you will understand why.
The bill, which is supposed to revamp the UK’s environmental regulations post- Brexit, currently allows raw sewage to be discharged into the country’s waterways.
Data from the Environment Agency shows that raw sewage was dumped into British waters over than 400,000 times in 2020 and that will not change now.
Surfers Against Sewage said: “we lost the battle but will win the war”.
“In this most important of environmental decades, it’s shocking that the government recommended that MPs reject progressive and ambitious amendments that would protect water, air and nature.
Why wouldn’t they want water companies to have a legal obligation not to pollute our rivers and ocean with sewage, for example? It beggars belief and hardly shows a commitment to be the greenest government ever. It’s time for more ambitious thinking and law that builds protected nature back into public ownership rather than leaving it to the ravages of shareholder interests.
Thanks to all the supporters who contacted their MP – we need your help more than ever in the campaign to End Sewage Pollution.”
Hugo Tagholm, CEO Surfers Against Sewage
You can write to your MP using this link.