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An ‘environmental scandal’

MPs back legal challenge against government over sewage crisis
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
A large pipeline leading out to the sea

A legal challenge against the government’s inadequate plan to tackle sewage dumping by water companies has been backed by MPs from the Green Party, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

In a video released by Good Law Project, the group of cross-party politicians slam the water companies serving their constituencies over the deluge of sewage polluting their local rivers and seas.

The MPs – Caroline Lucas, Dawn Butler, Richard Foord and Lloyd Russell-Moyle – and Parliamentary candidate Josh Babarinde have also called on Ministers to take quicker and tougher action to protect our waterways and shores for future generations.

Tougher targets for water companies

The move comes in the wake of recent data published by the Environment Agency revealing that last year alone, water companies in England discharged untreated sewage through storm overflows over 300,000 times for a total of 1.7 million hours.

Last August, the government published its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan. It gives water companies a deadline of 2035 to reduce the amount of sewage flowing into bathing water and areas of ecological importance, but until 2050 to stop discharges elsewhere.

It also fails to include a significant number of coastal waters with around 600 storm overflows not covered by the plan in its current form, meaning sewage could continue to be poured into our waters beyond 2050. 

‘We won’t stand by as our country overflows with raw sewage. We’re doing all we can to help stop this environmental scandal after decades of inaction, as this government continues to fail to grasp this unacceptable situation.

‘Our upcoming High Court challenge, backed by these MPs, gives us a chance to force the government to put in place a robust and urgent plan to impose much tougher targets on water companies and stop them polluting our rivers and seas.’ 

Legal Director of Good Law Project

The High Court hearing

In a High Court hearing taking place 04-06 July, Good Law Project will be supporting co-claimants the Marine Conservation Society, Richard Haward’s Oysters and surfer and activist Hugo Tagholm to bring a legal challenge against the government’s plan.

The claimants are aiming to force the government to improve its plan by introducing tougher targets and significantly bringing forward the deadlines for water companies to clean up their act. 

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