MP calls for end to sewage being pumped into rivers

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Wed, 10/27/2021 - 06:00
MP calls for end to sewage being pumped into rivers

The Rivers Trust have revealed that last year in Dagenham and Rainham our rivers had 113 reported sewage overflows which latest for 2,143 hours.

In the last year alone, raw sewage was discharged into UK rivers and seas over 400,000 times. There were 2,941 discharges into UK coastal bathing waters during the May-September bathing season alone, severely impacting coastal communities. The UK is ranked last in the EU for bathing water quality. None of our rivers are in a healthy condition, with none meeting good chemical standards and only 14% meeting good ecological standards.

In the recent series of votes on the Environment Bill, Labour MPs voted to end the routine discharge of raw sewage into rivers and seas. Conservative MPs were whipped to vote against the cross-party amendment tabled by the Duke of Wellington in the House of Lords. The amendment was defeated, and raw sewage can continue to be discharged into rivers as a result.

However, reeling from the national backlash, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have proposed their own amendment which would place a new legal duty directly on water companies to make a "progressive reduction" in the sewage it dumps into rivers.

MPs are expected to vote on the proposal to end sewage discharges again in the coming weeks.

Local MP Jon Cruddas said:

"People in Dagenham and Rainham want our local waterways to be free from raw sewage but waste is still routinely discharged into our seas and rivers. It not only makes river waters unsafe to swim in, but it also damages the precious river habitats for marine life, birds, and mammals. As a keen angler I was dismayed at the outcome of the vote on this and will do all I can to lobby for stronger regulations.

"The piecemeal announcement from the Defra Minister following the backlash doesn't go nearly far enough. Water companies must face greater scrutiny, and the Tories should learn from the Welsh Labour government who have sustainable drainage systems in place and are actively investing to tackle future challenges."