A partnership between The Rivers Trust and Surfers Against Sewage and the #EndSewagePollution Coalition, is asking politicians to stand up for rivers and bring an end to sewage pollution – and they want everyone to join them.
If successful, Philip Dunne MP’s Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill will place a duty on water companies to ensure that untreated sewage is not discharged directly into rivers or coastal waters. Companies would also be required to set out plans to reduce their reliance on combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and to publicly report on the amount, condition, and quality of sewage discharged from CSOs or other sewer catchment assets. In addition, the new law would compel the government to investigate possible further steps to be taken by stakeholders such as the Environment Agency to improve water quality more generally.
Lunched on 26th October a call for MPs to support the bill resulted in over 80 MPs showing their support and on 12th November, the day before the planned second reading of the Bill, a petition of almost than 45,000 signatures was presented to George Eustace, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. With the second reading of the Bill delayed until 15th January you can still sign the petition here https://www.sas.org.uk/EndSewagePollution-SewageBill to urge your MP to attend the second reading.
This all follows shortly on depressing news in September when WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 reported that of the 68% decline in vertebrate species the biggest losses were in freshwater ecosystems; and the Environment Agency released new water quality data showing us that 0% (yes, zero) of British rivers are in good health.
The River Thame Conservation Trust will continue working on all fronts to do what it can to help improve the freshwater systems in our catchment. If you would like some tips on how to take your own steps to help our rivers, check the ADVICE pages on our website, which has guidance for anglers, developers, dog owners, landowners, homeowners and owners of septic tanks. These resources were developed with funding provided by Thames Water and include a free to download septic tank maintenance log to help track and troubleshoot any problems.
If you see what you think is a pollution event call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 and Thames Water on 0800 316 9800.