Consultation on the Government’s Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan – Closes 12 May 2022
Untreated sewage is being dumped illegally in rivers across the country on a regular basis, analysis shown to the BBC suggests. The water industry admitted action was needed to address the problem. The Rivers Trust say sewage is discharged into rivers across the UK on a daily basis: “This isn’t an isolated problem; it occurs up and down the country, affecting urban city centre rivers and pristine chalk streams alike. The Trust’s ‘Our Sewage Map’ will help you find out where this happens”. The Trust’s map show there re hundreds of instances in Kent West & East Sussex. Click HERE to see their map. Sadly last year the government voted down proposals to impose legal responsibilities on water companies. Now they have issued a ‘consultation’ on the problem meaning to say we all will have repeat our request for action.
The Government say:
Storm overflows are safety valves built into the combined sewer system to discharge excess sewage to rivers, lakes, or the sea when rainfall exceeds capacity. This protects properties from flooding and prevents sewage backing up into streets and homes during heavy storm events. A growing population, an increase in hard surfaces and more frequent and heavier storms because of climate change have increased pressure on the system, bringing the frequency of discharges to an unacceptable level. There are around 15,000 storm overflows in England, and in 2020 there were over 400,000 sewage discharges, totalling over 3 million hours. It is the government’s strong view that this is unacceptable.
They go on to say: Tackling storm overflows in England is a government priority. It is an issue which has received significant public attention and the government is firmly committed to a step change on action to protect public health and the environment from storm overflow discharges. We intend to produce a Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan by September 2022, as required by the Environment Act 2021, to outline our vision. This will set clear and enforceable targets that the water industry must meet. This consultation seeks views on the targets and other core elements of the Plan in advance of its publication.
Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee
Poor water quality in English rivers is a result of chronic underinvestment and multiple failures in monitoring, governance and enforcement, the Environmental Audit Committee warns. See their report by clicking HERE