Campaigners warn river on Therese Coffey's doorstep riddled with deadly bacteria
The Environment Secretary has been accused of not instigating laws to stop dumping of sewage into waterways and a river on her own doorstep contained 50mg of e.coli per litre of water
click link: Green campaigners warn river on Therese Coffey's doorstep riddled with deadly bacteria - Mirror Online
UK Water Firms Discharge Sewage into Rivers
English water companies were responsible for the discharge of raw sewage into rivers and streams on more than 200,000 occasions in 2019. click link: UK Water Firms Discharge Sewage into Rivers Envirotech Online (envirotech-online.com)
Local elections 2023: How sewage topped the political agenda
Labour's shadow environment secretary Jim McMahon has accused the Conservatives of allowing England's communities to be treated as "open sewers" and has called for automatic fines and a target to end 90% of sewage discharges by 2030.
The Conservatives say sewage is dumped more frequently in Wales where Labour is in power, while the UK government has introduced widespread monitoring and tougher regulations.
The Green Party, which wants to see the water industry renationalised, said firms could not go on being "rewarded for failure" and its co-leader Adrian Ramsay has called for a halt to dividend payouts to shareholders.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, who described the sewage issue as a "national scandal", has called for a ban on dumping on blue flag beaches and the party believes its message is particularly hitting home with the "dog walker demographic" and younger people.
click link: Local elections 2023: How sewage topped the political agenda - BBC News
Labour to use tactic that finished off Truss to force Tories into sewage vote
The party plans to use its regular opposition day motion on Tuesday to push a binding motion, which would oblige the government to set aside Commons time next week for a debate and vote on a Labour bill to impose tougher penalties for sewage spills.
While the motion will fail if the government, as expected, whips its MPs to vote it down, this outcome would allow Labour to say Tory MPs had opposed plans to clean up rivers, beaches and chalk streams, a potentially potent attack before local elections, also next week.
Click link: Labour to use tactic that finished off Truss to force Tories into sewage vote | House of Commons | The Guardian
UK environment laws under threat in ‘deregulatory free-for-all’
Hundreds of Britain’s environmental laws covering water quality, sewage pollution, clean air, habitat protections and the use of pesticides are lined up for removal from UK law under a government bill.
click link: UK environment laws under threat in ‘deregulatory free-for-all’ | Environment | The Guardian
Read National Trust Statement in response:
clink link: Statement on recent Government proposals and the importance of environmental protections | National Trust
The RSPB has also reponded with Action
click link: Stop the attack on nature
Government would make 'terrible mistake' by scrapping strict protections for nature, ex-cabinet minister warns
Government would make 'terrible mistake' by scrapping strict protections for nature, ex-cabinet minister warns | Politics News | Sky News
The BMC (British Mountaineering Council) have also reponded:
Over the past few days there have been a number of political announcements that have stoked widespread anger from the environmental sector. These include Government moving towards weakening laws that protect our environment, a relaxation of laws that govern planning, a renewed interest in fracking and reports that Government may be rethinking the future of farm payments with a focus on food protection and little more. Here's how we're taking action, and how you can too.
Click link: Taking action to protect our access to nature (thebmc.co.uk)
Anglian Water fined £1.2 million over pollution in eastern England
The Environment Agency has said Anglian Water admitted causing pollution at inland freshwaters on several occasions.
click link: Anglian Water fined £1.2 million over pollution in eastern England | The Independent
Also: Anglian Water fined £350,000 after Cambs sewer burst six times over several years
System and maintenance failures led to incidents in Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire in 2019, the Environment Agency (EA) said.
click link:Anglian Water fined £1.2m for causing pollution - BBC News
Also:Sewage discharge data in north Norfolk questioned by council | Eastern Daily Press (edp24.co.uk)
A;so: West Norfolk water supply contained nitrates | Eastern Daily Press (edp24.co.uk)
Surfers Against Sewage: We’re facing a second wave of sewage pollution
We’ve revealed the scale of sewage being discharged into bathing waters across the country this summer.We’ve been investigating the extent to which sewage is making us sick. And we’ve been using intelligence from our Safer Seas & Rivers Service to investigate when (over the last 12 months) sewage has been dumped into our most popular beaches when there has been no rain, indicating potential illegal activity.
click link: Home - Surfers Against Sewage • Water Quality Report 2022 (sas.org.uk)
See also: Water companies dumping sewage during dry weather, SAS report finds | Water | The Guardian
and: Wild swimmers are getting sick from sewage, campaigners say - BBC News
and: South West Water told to deal with waste water discharges - BBC News
and: Blue Flag beach sewage scandal as 1,500 pollution cases detected - Top 5 worst revealed - Mirror Online
Water firms may owe UK customers £163m for spillages, say experts
Water companies could be forced to pay their customers hundreds of millions in fines due to sewage pollution, a leading firm specialising in corporate wrongdoing has said.
click link: Water firms may owe UK customers £163m for spillages, say experts | Water | The Guardian
see also: Millions in UK set for water bill discount - full list of 12 companies affected - Birmingham Live (birminghammail.co.uk)
Water chiefs blame UK government for failure to stop sewage pollution
Water company bosses have blamed UK government inaction for a lack of progress in stopping sewage pollution, newly revealed letters show.
click link: Water chiefs blame UK government for failure to stop sewage pollution | Pollution | The Guardian
see also: Ofwat attacks water firms’ lack of investment to cut sewage discharges | Water | The Guardian
More than 70% of English water industry is in foreign ownership
Guardian unpicks complex web of investment firms, wealth funds and tax haven-based businesses that own most of sector
click link: Revealed: more than 70% of English water industry is in foreign ownership | Water | The Guardian
see also:‘You’ll have to talk to the UK staff’: can global water investors be held to account? | Water | The Guardian
and: Water firms’ debts since privatisation hit £54bn as Ofwat refuses to impose limits | Water | The Guardian
and: Following the money in the privatised water industry | Water | The Guardian
Water companies "letting down" customers and the environment
BBC reported on 12-Dec-2022 that Several water companies in England and Wales are "letting down their customers and the environment" the industry regulator said on Thursday. In its annual review Ofwat said that despite some improvements it remains deeply concerned.
This year water companies have come under increasing scrutiny following numerous pollution incidents from untreated sewage in rivers.
click link: Water companies "letting down" customers and the environment - BBC News
and: Ofwat warns some water firms invest less than half of their allowances to improve water network (smartwatermagazine.com)
also: Public patience is wearing thin. Ofwat must wield the big stick | Nils Pratley | The Guardian
Water company performance report 2021-22: Worst performing water and wastewater companies called out in latest Ofwat assessments - Ofwat
Another link about Ofwatch: Watchdog to block shareholder payouts if UK water companies miss targets | Water | The Guardian
Thames Water’s real-time map shows scale of sewage dumps
Data reveals many hundreds of hours of discharges via storm overflows in some locations. After growing pressure from campaigners and the public, Thames Water has created an interactive map showing sewage dumping via storm overflows in real time.
click link: ‘Streams as toilets’: Thames Water’s real-time map shows scale of sewage dumps | Rivers | The Guardian
Also: Gloucestershire River Coln: Sewage discharge criticised - BBC News
And: Sewage dumped into a Cotswolds River Thames tributary non-stop for 27 days - Gloucestershire Live
Water companies must clean up their act – and our rivers
Telegraph View: 13 January 2023 • 6:00am - We need a national plan to clean up the nation’s waterways.
click link: Water companies must clean up their act – and our rivers (telegraph.co.uk)
But Regulators don’t know how much sewage is being pumped into rivers
However: Most treatment works are not equipped to monitor how much wastewater they are processing, calling into question the legality of their overflows. Even where meters were in place to record how much waste was being treated and discharged, there were failures to check they were working properly or to make best use of them.
see this link: Regulators don't know how much sewage is being pumped into UK rivers because of a lack of sensors (inews.co.uk)
‘Frankly pathetic’: Water pollution lacks full-time team to tackle sewage crisis
The Environment Agency (EA) has no dedicated team dealing with water pollution full-time, despite the sewage crisis in England’s rivers, The Telegraph can reveal. The regulator has 549 staff who work on water issues across two different teams, some of whom spend up to a third of their time on water pollution.
click link: ‘Frankly pathetic’: Water pollution lacks full-time team to tackle sewage crisis (telegraph.co.uk)
Ministers treating coastal areas like ‘open sewers’, says Labour
Shadow minister submits bill to curb spills as Environment Agency reveals sewage was dumped for almost 1m hours last year. Ministers have treated coastal communities as if they are “open sewers”,Labourhas said, after a damaging analysis of Environment Agency (EA) data revealed sewage was dumped for almost a million hours last year. In total, the data – from the websiteTop of the Poops, which collates Environment Agency statistics at a constituency level – shows 141,777 sewage-dumping events occurred across 137 constituencies on the coasts of England and Wales in 2022. This analysis found sewage was dumped once every three minutes and 45 seconds in 2022, adding up to a combined total of 980,999 hours of discharges last year.
click link: Ministers treating coastal areas like ‘open sewers’, says Labour | Environment | The Guardian
UK rivers cannot be restored without reversing Industrial Revolution
Rivers cannot be restored to their highest ecological status without reversing the Industrial Revolution, Environment Secretary Therese Coffey has said. Speaking at the launch of the government’s Plan for Water, Ms Coffey said the River Don in Yorkshire will never be given a high status without dismantling half of Sheffield. Only 14 per cent of rivers in England meet requirements for good ecological status with pollution being a “major impediment” to restoring all rivers to this level by 2027, the Environmental Audit Committee has said.
click link: Rivers cannot be restored without reversing Industrial Revolution, says Coffey | The Independent
Water Companies Face Unlimited Fines for Releasing Raw Sewage
Raw sewage meeting to be full house in Shrewsbury
Campaign group Up Sewage Creek and Shrewsbury Town Council are hosting the meeting at Theatre Severn on Monday, February 27. All the tickets for the 250-seat Walker Theatre have been snapped up.
click link: Raw sewage meeting to be full house in Shrewsbury | Shropshire Star
Shrewsbury seeks solutions to River Severn pollution
About 250 people attended the meeting and afterwards Ms Halliday said she believed there would be some "small, gradual changes" but they were not enough. She said there needed to be a "push at the local level" and suggested Shrewsbury might want to set itself a target of achieving bathing water status.
Clink link: Shrewsbury seeks solutions to River Severn pollution - BBC News
Shrewsbury: How sewage destroyed an iconic River Severn spot with anglers catching ‘more tampons than fish’
A combination of human waste and agricultural runoff have covered the river in slime and algae, driving away fish and with them national competitions
click link: Shrewsbury: How sewage destroyed an iconic River Severn spot with anglers catching 'more tampons than fish' (inews.co.uk)
Manningtree wild swimmers bid for bathing water status
Wild swimmers said they were applying for bathing water status for a river to stop it being used as a dumping ground for sewage.
The group swims in the River Stour in Manningtree, Essex. Some members havefallen sick after swimming in the river, where sewage was recorded as having been released for more than 1,200 hours last year. Campaigner Anna Helm Baxter said: "We've had enough of polluters not being held to account."
click link: Manningtree wild swimmers bid for bathing water status - BBC News
see also: Wild swimmer wants bathing status in bid to clean up Shropshire rivers | Shropshire Star
The UK's official swimming rivers are too polluted to swim in
New Scientist reports on 8 Mar 23 that Just two rivers in the UK are designated as "bathing waters", and both are currently rated in poor health. With more rivers set to become bathing waters, will they actually be clean enough to use?
click link: The UK's official swimming rivers are too polluted to swim in | New Scientist
Ray Mears: Some British rivers so polluted I wouldn’t even canoe on them
Nature presenter and survivalist speaks on 5 Mar 23 of ‘heartbreaking’ state of UK waterways, where the pleasure of a wild swim is being ‘lost’
click link: Ray Mears: Some British rivers so polluted I wouldn’t canoe on them (telegraph.co.uk)
Country diary: I swim on behalf of the life in this river
‘Even this stretch in Grassington, miles upstream from the better-known polluted part, is not completely safe. Still, I swim, at my own risk and at least partly in protest.
click link: Country diary: I swim on behalf of the life in this river | Rivers | The Guardian
Local groups denied access to reasons for refusal of English river bathing areas
Campaigners aiming to clean up waterways lodge complaint after government rejects FoI requests for details why applications failed.
Local communities fighting to clean up their rivers by creating protected bathing areas have been refused access to the reasons their applications were rejected by the government. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) turned down a series of freedom of information (FoI) requests submitted by campaigners in Kent, Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, Cornwall, Suffolk and Lancashire to obtain more information on why the applications were unsuccessful. The campaigners have lodged a complaint against the refusals.
click link: Local groups denied access to reasons for refusal of English river bathing areas | Rivers | The Guardian
Wild swimming spots designated as bathing waters
Four wild swimming spots have been designated as bathing waters ahead of summer.
The sites in Rutland, Devon and Suffolk will receive bathing water status from next month, the government said.
It means the water quality at Firestone Bay, also known as Devil's Point, in Plymouth, will be tested regularly.
click link: Wild swimming spots designated as bathing waters - BBC News
England's most dangerous beaches - check if sewage pollutes your favourite spot
The Mirror's new interactive map lets you type in your postcode to find beaches near you where pollution levels have reached the point where swimming could become dangerous.
Not only does it tell you if getting in the water in those spots is advised against, it lets you know if it has lost its Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs designated swimming zone status.
Click link: England's most dangerous beaches to swim - check if sewage pollutes your favourite spot - Mirror Online
Plan to take Welsh water for London stirs painful memories
Thames Water wants to abstract up to 155m litres of water a day from Wales to boost supplies for the most populous part of England in the coming years. It isworking withUnited Utilities, which has a licence to abstract water from Lake Vyrnwy, a reservoir in Powys, and with Severn Trent. But as the graffiti across north Wales in memory of Capel Celyn show, water continues to be an emotive subject in the country.
click link: ‘Very sensitive subject’: plan to take Welsh water for London stirs painful memories | Wales | The Guardian
Calls for 'immediate' devolution over all water in Wales amid London piping plan
Plaid Cymru has demanded the “immediate” devolution of control over all water in Wales, six years after it was first promised.
The leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price MS, made the call after news emerged about plans to potentially pipe water from Lake Vyrnwy and the River Severn to London to help with drought in the South East. Mr Price said Wales was the only country in the UK denied the right to legislate on all the water within its borders. The Welsh Government currently can only regulate water companies wholly or mainly in Wales – which excludes Severn Trent Water and United Utilities.
click link: Calls for 'immediate' devolution over all water in Wales amid London piping plan | Shropshire Star
Citizens demand British rivers are returned to their natural state
The UK should urgently restore its rivers to their original state and access to nature should be recognised as a human right, the country’s first nationwide citizens’ assembly for nature has said. The People’s Assembly for Nature, consisting of 100 representatives from across the country, is calling for the government to return all rivers to as close to their natural state as possible and to introduce water metering for all households. The “nature jury” was brought together by the National Trust, the RSPB and WWF. Thursday March 23 2023
click link: Citizens demand British rivers are returned to their natural state (thetimes.co.uk)
‘Genuine problem’ with sewage pollution, admits water industry chief
Director of Water UK urges executives to take their share of blame. A water industry chief has admitted the sector has “genuine problems” with sewage pollution that need tackling and has said it is “pointless” for water firms to blame other sectors for the state of England’s rivers.
Some in the water industry have attempted to shift blame for the poor condition of rivers on to other sectors including farming. They note that more rivers fail to meet good ecological standards because of agriculture than because of sewage treatment works.
However, Stuart Colville, director of policy at Water UK, said the sector needed to take “ownership” of its role in polluted rivers.
click link: ‘Genuine problem’ with sewage pollution, admits water industry chief (thetimes.co.uk)
Cash injection to fight water pollution in victory for Times campaign
Water companies will be allowed to bring forward hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to tackle sewage pollution next year under government plans. In what would be a victory for The Times Clean It Up campaign (say the Times), firms are to be given permission by the regulator Ofwat to fund more action against pollutants spilt into rivers.
click link: Cash injection to fight water pollution in victory for Times campaign (thetimes.co.uk)
Environment Secretary: "Water bills could TREBLE if river discharges were scrapped"
Brits could see water bills surge in price if water companies were stopped from discharging stormwater and sewage into rivers, a former Environment Secretary claims. Speaking to Camilla Tominey on GB News, George Eustice said scrapping river discharges altogether would be "unfeasible" and £600 billion would need to be spent on the UK's sewage infrastructure.
click link: River pollution: Scrapping river discharges could send water bills surging says Former Environment Secretary (gbnews.com)
UK’s ‘worst-rated’ water company fails to explain its sewage spills
Therese Coffey says she is ‘horrified’ that Southern Water is still investigating sewage overflows at 50 different sites
click link: Environment Secretary ‘horrified’ as water company fails to explain sewage spills (telegraph.co.uk)
The state of Britain's rivers: Slurry, silage and sewage
The majority of the UK's waterways are suffering, even those that look like they are in good health, but some restoration projects have started to tackle the issues, and much more can be done. By Graham Lawton New Scientist 22 March 2023
click link: The state of Britain's rivers, from slurry to silage and sewage | New Scientist
15 of the dirtiest rivers & lakes in Britain’s National Parks, & how they can be saved
Pollution discharged into one river is treating a National Park like an ‘open sewer’, say campaigners who fear the Government won’t bring in the legal protections needed. Dozens of rivers in England’s National Parks are being damaged by pollution, development and over-abstraction, leading environmental charities are warning.
click link: River sewage: 15 of the dirtiest rivers and lakes in Britain's National Parks, and how they can be saved (inews.co.uk)
Yoghurt maker Muller pays £100K to charity after river discharge
The Environment Agency (EA) said large pieces of fruit had passed into the factory's effluent treatment plant in Market Drayton, Shropshire, in 2018.
As a result, high levels of ammonia went into the River Tern and stayed above permitted amounts for 15 days. The EA said Müller had since complied with regulations. It added that as well as its payment to Shropshire Wildlife Trust, the manufacturer had also spent £2m improving its environmental practices.
click link: Yoghurt maker Muller pays £100K to charity after river discharge - BBC News
Water firms to invest £1.6bn in improvements, says Ofwat
Regulator announces two-year plan in victory for campaigners pushing to clean up England’s rivers. More than £1.6bn is to be invested by water companies in England in the next two years, the regulator, Ofwat, has announced, in a victory for campaigners pushing to clean up rivers.
The investment by water companies has been brought forward to speed up projects to tackle pollution and drought.
click link: Water firms to invest £1.6bn in improvements, says Ofwat | Rivers | The Guardian
Severn Trent Water gets go-ahead for £95 million plan to reduce pollution
Severn Trent Water has been given the green light by Defra, Ofwat and the Environment Agency to bring forward £95 million worth of improvements as public anger about pollution has increased.
click link: Severn Trent Water gets go-ahead for £95 million plan to improve quality and reduce pollution | Shropshire Star
Drain Services finds large fatberg blocking drain in Ledbury
A large fatberg has been found blocking a drain in Ledbury. The fatberg was causing a manhole on a private property in the town to overflow.
Harry Gough, of Ledbury firm HS Drain Services, said this type of blockage is one the company encounters fairly often. “Fatbergs are caused by people putting the wrong things down their toilets and sinks,” he said. “Items such as wet wipes, cotton buds, sanitary towels, cooking oils, food scraps and cat litter cause obstructions.
click link: HS Drain Services finds large fatberg blocking drain in Ledbury | Hereford Times
Britain’s rivers and oceans are filling with sewage – with no sign of stopping
The government and private water companies have failed for years to get a grip on unfiltered sewage in our waterways – why?
The implications of not immediately dealing with rogue sewage are troubling. The public will not be able to safely use open water in England for recreational purposes without risking infection or disease. Harmful algae bloom will suffocate wildlife and destroy biodiversity. “It’s also disgusting when it’s put in context with the increasing amount of droughts we’re having. Last year, these problems were compounded because there was less water in the rivers to dilute the sewage,” Helena says. With extreme weather conditions induced by the climate crisis becoming more common and the infrastructure only degrading further, the problem will inevitably get worse.
click link: Friday briefing: Britain’s rivers and oceans are filling with sewage – with no sign of stopping | Environment | The Guardian
Stretch of Scotland’s most famous salmon fishing river deteriorats
Ex-rocker Feargal Sharkey has demanded answers after a key stretch of Scotland’s most famous salmon fishing river deteriorated into “poor ecological condition”. Data from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency shows a popular 20-mile section of the River Spey in the Highlands to have been in a poor overall state since 2019.
click link: Feargal Sharkey demands answers after stretch of Scotland’s most famous salmon fishing river deteriorates - Daily Record
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