About our Sewage Pollution news
Latest news on sewage pollution, a serious problem affecting many rivers and coastal waters in the UK, posing risks to human health, wildlife, and the environment. Sewage pollution occurs when water companies discharge untreated or partially treated sewage into waterways, often as a result of heavy rainfall or inadequate infrastructure.
Thames Water has been fined £3.3m for discharging millions of litres of raw sewage into two rivers near Gatwick Airport in October 2017, killing more than 1,400 fish and harming other wildlife. The company admitted to breaching environmental permits and failing to prevent pollution. The judge said it was a "significant and lengthy" release of sewage that could have been avoided or minimised.
A legal challenge has been launched by environmental groups to stop water companies from pumping raw sewage into rivers. The groups, including Surfers Against Sewage and Fish Legal, argue that the practice is unlawful and breaches EU water quality standards. They are seeking a judicial review of the Environment Agency's decision to grant permits to water companies that allow them to discharge sewage when their systems are overwhelmed.
Tory MPs have been defending their votes against a proposal from the House of Lords that would have placed legal duties on water companies to reduce sewage discharges. The proposal was part of the Environment Bill, which is currently going through Parliament. The MPs say the proposal was unnecessary, costly, and impractical, and that the bill already contains safeguards and targets to improve water quality. Critics say the MPs have given the green light to water companies to dump raw sewage in rivers and have undermined the UK's green credentials ahead of the COP26 climate summit.
Meanwhile, French MEPs have appealed to the EU to intervene over the UK's sewage discharges into the Channel and the North Sea, saying they are threatening health and marine life on the French coast. They say the UK is violating the Brexit trade deal, which requires both sides to uphold high environmental standards. They have asked the European Commission to launch an infringement procedure against the UK and impose sanctions if necessary. The UK government says it is committed to improving water quality and complying with its international obligations.