Plans to clean rivers of worst sewage pollution released by government
PROPOSALS to tackle the worst impacts of sewage pollution from storm overflows have been welcomed by Ludlow MP Philip Dunne.
The government has announced a consultation on a storm overflow reduction plan, which outlines several measures to reduce the environmental impact of storm overflows, as required by the Environment Act legislation that Mr Dunne claimed last year. According to the proposed plan: by 2035, the environmental impacts of 3,000 storm spills (75%) affecting our most important protected sites will have been eliminated: by 2035, there will be 70% fewer discharges in the bathing water figures which would have represented 4,620 fewer discharges into our bathing waters during the bathing season); by 2040, about 160,000 discharges, on average, will have been eliminated (40% of the total); and by 2050, about 320,000 releases, on average, will have been eliminated (80% of the total).
The consultation outlines how water companies are expected to achieve these goals, including mapping their sewer systems, reducing surface water connections and engaging in collaborative long-term planning.
The consultation also outlines how water companies that fail to meet expectations will be held accountable, including through a new monitoring and reporting framework, also provided for in the Environment Act. This greatly improves the ability of Ofwat and the Environment Agency to take enforcement action if necessary.
Mr Dunne chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, which published a report on water quality in rivers in January this year, with recommendations to government on how to improve water quality in rivers. This latest government announcement builds on some of the recommendations from that report.
“The government’s announcement represents a step change in political action around waste water,” Mr Dunne said.
“For too long, as we highlighted in our report on water quality in rivers, policy makers, water companies and regulators have turned a blind eye to the horrific and disgusting practice of dumping water raw sewage into our waterways.”