Adam Thompson: Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Erewash

Adam Thompson

Residents against sewer pollution logo

Shocking 2,553% increase in raw sewage discharge devastating Britain’s tourism and leisure spots

Leisure and tourism spots across the country like West Park in Long Eaton are being devastated by more than 1,076 years-worth of raw sewage discharge, Labour Party analysis has found.

Analysis of Environment Agency figures obtained under Freedom of Information requests by the party, shows that since 2016, raw sewage has been pumped into our natural environment by water companies for a total of 9,427,355 hours.

Areas impacted include popular tourist and bathing spots such as rivers and beaches, while local playing fields used by community sports teams are also being effected – spoiling areas of natural beauty and risking public health.

Cumulatively, this equates to a duration of 392,806 days or 1,076 years of sewage discharge taking place across the country and polluting our environment, a damning indictment of 12 years of Tory failure to hold water bosses to account.

The data also shows a 2553% increase in the number of monitored discharge hours, between 2016 and 2021. This highlights that the situation is only drastically worsening under the Tories, and a consequence of their two-thirds budgetary cut to the Environment Agency grant, which covers environmental surveillance and enforcement.

The full scale of the pollution is likely to be even greater, given that Event Duration Monitoring does not cover every permitted storm overflow.

This comes amid revelations that the zombie Tory government shelved sewage discharge reduction plans at the beginning of August – meaning communities can continue to be impacted by the pollution.

Jim McMahon, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said:

“Families across Britain are trying to enjoy the summer time. Whilst water companies are paying billions in dividends, the Tories have allowed them to cut corners and pump filthy raw sewage onto our playing fields and into our waters.

“Labour will put a stop to this disgraceful practice by ensuring there can be enforcement of unlimited fines, holding water company bosses legally and financially accountable for their negligence, and by toughening up regulations that currently allow the system to be abused.”

Dr Adam Thompson, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Erewash, said:

“It’s extremely sad that the water companies are still allowed to do this, and that this Conservative Government voted to continue to let it happen. West Park in Long Eaton, which doubles as our local floodplain, is regularly polluted with raw sewage pumped into the brook that flows through the park, which then floods out over the whole area.

“Just half a mile upstream from the park, the sewer storm overflow spilled into the brook seven times for a total of 40 hours in 2021 alone.

“The brook flows past the sports fields, within 15 metres of Long Eaton skate park and just 10 metres from the toddlers’ play park, splash pad and park café. The fact that these facilities, particularly those for children, are regularly awash with human waste is sickening. It has to stop, now.”