Britain’s Filthy Waters: here are some solutions

Today our guest columnist, “Silver Surfer” explains why the UK Government is up to its neck in it

Every two and a half minutes a water company somewhere in the UK unleashes another torrent of sewage into our seas and rivers. Unsurprisingly, this has provoked a stink of outrage from the public who after years of obfuscation and delay by the government, have realised we have the filthiest water system in Europe.

In the House of Commons this week, Therese Coffey, playing politics for all she was worth,  insisted that the problem only came to public attention because of government water monitoring. This is clearly nonsense. Organisations like Surfers Against Sewage [1] have been monitoring water quality, producing scientific reports and campaigning for a clean up for more than 20 years.

Coffey told the Commons that water company targets for curbing spills from storm overflows will be enshrined in law, and they have until 2050 to do it. 

So 27 more years of regular spillage ? This simply isn’t good enough.[2]

Campaigner Fergal Sharkey argues that since privatisation in 1989, water company shareholders have benefitted to the tune of £72billion in dividends while the industry is £60billion in debt. It’s what corporations do, shareholders first, everyone else second. They can’t help themselves.

Here’s a simpler solution. Rather than wait until 2050:

1. Ensure that every water company is required to report every sewage spillage every day on their public websites.

2. Remove the monitoring of water quality in our seas and rivers from the companies to County Council and Unitary authorities who should publish independent monthly reports.

3. Legislate to ensure that each water company publishes a fully costed plan to end sewage spillage by 2035 at the very latest. 

It’s time a government who brought in water privatisation, stopped defending the indefensible and got serious about clearing up the mess it created.



#united kingdom #sewage #water pollution #rivers trust #surfers against sewage # water privatisation #water companies

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