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MP Matt Western has called for an end to sewage dumping in seas and rivers after cases rose by 67% in Warwick and Leamington in a year.
The Warwick and Leamington MP has accused the government of enabling private water firms ‘make a killing at the public’s expense.’
Environment Agency data shows there have been over 470,000 intentional sewage discharges in the UK last year.
This includes 204 dumps into Warwick and Leamington rivers and waterways, which is up by 83 (67%) in just a year.
An analysis of the data by website ‘Top of the Poops’ shows the number of hours refuse was spewed into local waterways increased by nearly 600 in a year, to reach 1,350 hours.
Mr Western called for industry reform and increased regulation – including urgent funding being granted to the Environment Agency.
“The Conservatives are standing by as our rivers and seashores run brown with sewage and while private water company executives and shareholders make a killing at our expense,” he said.
“Astonishingly, 204 discharges represent a low number compared with hundreds of constituencies across the country.
“Regrettably most other MPs in Warwickshire voted to continue to allow sewage dumps in our rivers, waterways and seas when they had the chance to outlaw them last year.
“Perhaps surprisingly, Severn Trent, the supplier for Warwick and Leamington, is responsible for the second most sewage discharges of all UK providers.
“Bear in mind that, despite all of this, executive salaries and bonuses have scandalously risen by a fifth on last year.
“Action must be taken so that our water network is run in the interests of the public and our environment – and not profits and shareholders.
“More funding for the Environment Agency – which has seen its budgets slashed by half in 10 years – and stricter punishments would potential ways to achieve this.
“Enough is enough. Only Labour is prepared to hold these companies to account.”
All the private water firms that control the UK’s network were found to have missed targets for tackling pollution or sewage spills last year.
This includes Severn Trent which was fined £1.5m for discharges while its chief executive earned a £3.9m salary – making her the best paid of all the UK’s water firm bosses.
In 2021, Severn Trent allowed nearly 60,000 monitored spills of raw sewage into our waters which lasted 461,135 hours – which is equivalent to more than 50 years!
In total, it allowed at least 1,231 sewage dumps into the River Avon and 386 into the River Leam.
Water UK – which represents the nation’s water suppliers – says only 14% of England’s rivers are rated as being in a good condition.