MP’s vote to allow sewage in Britain’s rivers and seas

MP’s voted down an amendment to stop private water companies from dumping raw sewage into the UK’s rivers and coastlines. 

The proposed amendment to the Environment Bill would have required water companies to take ‘all reasonable’ steps to stop untreated sewage discharges into waterways. 

Other proposals included: 

  • A new duty on water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operations on an annual basis.
  • A new duty on water companies to publish near real-time information (within 1 hour) of the commencement of an overflow, its location and when it ceases.
  • A new duty on water companies to continuously monitor the water quality upstream and downstream of a storm overflow and of sewage disposal works.
  • A new duty on water companies to produce comprehensive statutory Drainage and Sewerage Management Plans setting out how the company will manage and develop its networks, and how storm overflows will be addressed through these plans.

265 Tory MPs voted down the amendment.

This comes as figures collected by charity the Rivers Trust show that all of England’s rivers are currently failing to pass cleanliness tests, with 53% of them in a poor state at least partly because of water companies releasing raw and partially-treated sewage.



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