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Tackling Sewage in our Seas
and Waterways
Supporting the Surfers Against Sewage Campaign Group

November 2021

Thank you for contacting me about sewage pollution and the Environment Bill. Surfers Against Sewage could have informed you that I am a long-standing supporter of their cause and fully support better protection of our rivers and seas. Likewise, they could have better publicised their support which they gave vocally on BBC Radio 4 on the 10th November.

I was one of the very few Conservative MPs to vote in favour of the Lords Amendment and against the Government’s amendment to the Environment Bill. 

Along with neighbouring MP, Tim Loughton, we have long been vocal in our opposition to the unlawful release of raw sewage into bodies of water. 

As you may know, Southern Water is headquartered in Worthing and are well aware of my position.

I voted to support the Government's amended Environment bill enshrining the progressive obligation that I united in calling for as part of the Lord's Amendment.

 

The Lord's Amendment put a progressive obligation on the water treatment companies. This has long been Government policy but for some reason the Government decided to reject the amendment which sought to enshrine this policy in law.

 

I united with several other colleagues in doing what the Government ought to do anyway.

 

In response, the Government proposed that it would bring in its own amendment to achieve what the Lord's Amendment sought.

 

Last night's vote was not controversial. The House supported what the Minister put forward and the Lord's aim was achieved. Surfers Against Sewage have recognised that it is a major step in the right direction. We are all agreed that there is much more to do.

 

There needs to be a realistic way forward for water treatment companies to effectively deal between excess effluent water and rainwater. Sewage entering our watercourses is not right. Rainwater entering our watercourses is what has been going on for thousands of years.

 

I believe that Southern Water's previous management knowingly did things that were wrong. The present management does not. We ought to trust the new regime and hold them to their own expectations as well as ours.

 

Water quality is vastly improving. We should expect it to continue to improve as our systems become more efficient and effective. Just 60 years ago, untreated sewage entered our bathing water in a constant stream. That was pretty grim but we can be confident that the situation today is enormously different.

 

The more we know about achieving better results, the more we should implement them.

 

The quality of our water matters greatly not least to our seaside economy that relies greatly on our high-quality beaches and bathing waters.