New legal duties on water companies and government will reduce sewage discharged into waterways.
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, has welcomed measures to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows. The Government has announced that these measures will be put into law, helping provide greater protection for our water environment and the wildlife that relies on it.
During wet weather, storm overflows act to prevent sewers becoming overloaded with a combination of sewage and rain and release diluted wastewater into rivers. However, their use has increased in recent years as climate change has led to greater rainfall and water infrastructure has not kept pace with population growth.
Commenting, Neil Hudson MP said:
“As a supporter of Philip Dunne’s Private Members’ Bill, seeking to tackle pollution in waterways, I am delighted that our ambition has been turned into action.
“This announcement will create three key duties to oversee vital changes to improve our water environment.
“This is just one of a raft of measures that the Government is taking, and I will continue to champion this vital cause in the months and years ahead.”
The three duties are:
- a duty on government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows;
- a duty on government to report to Parliament on progress on implementing the plan; and
- a duty on water companies to publish data on storm overflow operation on an annual basis.
This builds on the work already underway by the Storm Overflows Taskforce, set up in September 2020 to bring together government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs to accelerate progress in this area.
Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow and Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said:
“I introduced my Private Members Bill to help tackle the scourge of sewage discharges polluting our waterways. Due to the impact of the pandemic on the Parliamentary timetable, I have been working to encourage the Government to adopt the key principles of my Bill.
I am delighted that the Environment Minister has honoured her pledge to seek a legislative route to give effect to the main objectives: from the Government updating Parliament on the progress it is making in reducing sewage discharges, to placing a duty on water companies to publish storm overflow data.”