THE GOVERNMENT has come under fire again over plans to reduce the amount of raw sewage being pumped into our rivers and coastal areas by water companies.
Just over a week ago the Department for Environment, Food & Rural affairs (Defra) published its Storm Overflow Reduction Plan, under which it’s hoped that 80 per cent of all discharges will have been eliminated by 2050, with time-bound targets for water companies to meet.
Although the announcement has been welcomed as a step in the right direction, critics have questioned the lengthy timescale and apparent lack of urgency in the proposals.
Data released by the Environment Agency showed that storm overflows discharged sewage into rivers 372,500 times in 2021, a reduction of less than 7 per cent on the 2020 figure of 400,000. Angling Trust Head of Campaigns, Stuart Singleton-White said: “It’s good to see the Government proposing to do the right thing, but now we have another consultation when what’s needed is action right now.
“The Government has all the tools it needs; new laws in the Environment Act, new duties on water industry regulator OFWAT, and the support of the public. Let’s not wait until 2050 before we get the job done, and let’s make sure that water company bonuses and dividends are directly linked to how much they do.”