Stop the sewage discharges

Bath’s MP, Wera Hobhouse is calling on the government to tackle the issue of sewage being discharged into rivers and lakes.

The levels of discharges into Bath and North East Somerset’s rivers and lakes are colossal – according to Lib Dem research – with Wessex Water dumping sewage 3,457 times lasting 13,525 hours in 2021. 

Twenty-eight storm overflows went unmonitored by Wessex Water during 2021 due to no monitor being installed.

Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, is calling for them to be stopped while the Conservatives have voted again and again to let water companies keep dumping their filthy sewage.

Under current plans, water companies will be allowed to keep dumping sewage until 2050, while they’re planning to increase people’s water bills by £5 a month, until 2090. This leaves consumers to pay the price for water companies polluting our rivers.

Liberal Democrats want an end to sewage discharges, and it’s the water companies that should pay for it. They would implement a sewage tax to clean up our rivers and a ban on bonuses for sewage bosses until discharges end.

Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, commented:

“Sadly, putting profits over the planet has become the status quo. This is unacceptable. Water companies must be regulated properly to prevent any more catastrophic biodiversity loss.

Local people should be able to visit and swim in local water bodies without fear, and individuals near rivers and lakes should not have to face the increasing worry of their homes being flooded by dirty water.

The Government is completely failing to tackle this issue. They must step up quickly before any more irreparable damage is inflicted on our water.”

A Wessex Water spokesperson said: “There have always been storm overflows in the UK as most sewers carry both rainwater and sewage. When it rains heavily, overflows automatically operate to release predominantly rainwater to prevent homes being flooded.

“Removing them completely would involve digging up almost every local road, which would cost in excess of £10 billion and leave an enormous carbon footprint. The best solution is separating rainwater at source so it doesn’t enter sewers, and we’re starting a pilot project to do that by installing water butts and soakaways at properties.

“We’re also reducing how often overflows operate – discharges fell by 30% in 2021 and it’s expected this will be a 60% reduction by the end of this year. We have 1,289 licensed storm overflows in our region, the vast majority of which are monitored, and we’re spending £3 million per month on improvements.”