Ban Water Companies discharging raw sewage into water courses.

This petition is scheduled to be debated on 15 Nov 2021

Ensure Water companies treat the sewage they are responsible for. Not discharge it into rivers and water courses. After all what goes into the ocean comes back as the fish we eat.

This petition closed on 12 Oct 2021 with 111,434 signatures


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Recent Documents related to Ban Water Companies discharging raw sewage into water courses.

1. Ban Water Companies discharging raw sewage into water courses.
06/04/2021 - Petitions

Found: Ensure Water companies treat the sewage they are responsible for. Not discharge it into rivers and water

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13/02/2019 - Inquiry: Scrutiny of the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
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Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Ban Water Companies discharging raw sewage into water courses.

1. River Pollution
16/09/2020 - Lords Chamber

1: the Environment: Water Quality report in 2018 is the most recent assessment of water pollution. We assess - Speech Link
2: between Defra, the Environment Agency, Ofwat and water companies, which will meet very regularly and set out - Speech Link
3: contain the headwaters of the Wye and the Severn. Our rivers are seriously at risk from an absolutely vast increase - Speech Link

2. Rivers: Discharges
13/01/2021 - Westminster Hall

1: That this House has considered discharges into rivers.It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship - Speech Link

3. Environment Bill
05/07/2021 - Lords Chamber

1: route might be to require larger companies to allow smaller companies to piggyback on their schemes.I - Speech Link
2: with PET, does the noble Baroness really want to go back to the days when we cut our feet on discarded glass - Speech Link
3: deposit management organisation, which would be responsible for the operation of the DRS. Amendment 138A - Speech Link

4. World Oceans Day 2021
08/06/2021 - Westminster Hall

1: blue marble. Over 70% of its surface is covered by water, and the algae that live on the surface account - Speech Link

5. Environment Bill
13/09/2021 - Lords Chamber

1: single-use materials, not just plastic. It would ensure that single-use plastics are not simply replaced - Speech Link
2: wipes, which I know cause huge problems for water companies and can block cisterns quite badly. Another - Speech Link
3: multiplied by corruption and fraud in the car companies, but there was an underlying error in the decision - Speech Link

Latest Speeches
Recent Questions related to Ban Water Companies discharging raw sewage into water courses.
1. Rivers: Sewage and Water Abstraction
asked by: Barry Sheerman
12/12/2017
... what steps the Government is taking to tackle sewage pollution and over-abstraction in rivers.

Latest Questions

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Government Response

Wednesday 5th May 2021

Tackling the harm caused by sewage is a top priority for Government. That is why we have established the Storm Overflows Taskforce and have announced plans for legislation to address this problem.


All discharges to the water environment, including from storm overflows, require a permit issued by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. The permits contain the necessary conditions to regulate the discharge and protect the environment. Compliance with permits is assessed by the Environment Agency. Any non-compliance is reported and will be subject to appropriate action under the Environment Agency’s enforcement and sanctions guidance. The Environment Agency will continue to prosecute water companies which fail to uphold the law or cause serious environmental harm.

Storm overflows were designed to be used during extreme weather to prevent sewers becoming overloaded with a combination of sewage and rainwater, releasing diluted wastewater into rivers rather than letting it back up into people’s homes. Climate change has led to increased rainfall and water infrastructure has not kept pace with development growth over decades. Storm overflows are a last resort in modern sewer design, but the age of our sewerage systems means their complete elimination is not practicable or affordable.

We recognise that there is more to do with regards to the management of sewage pollution. Rebecca Pow MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defra, has met water company CEOs and made clear that the volume of sewage discharged into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced. To achieve this, Defra has established the Storm Overflows Taskforce, bringing together representatives from Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental non-governmental organisations to set out clear proposals to accelerate progress in tackling this issue.

This Taskforce has agreed a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows and has taken steps to improve monitoring and transparency. Eliminating harm from storm overflows is a generational endeavour that will involve significant change and it will take time to achieve, but the Government is determined to accelerate efforts towards this goal. The Taskforce is now working on plans to start making progress towards this goal and has commissioned research to gather evidence on the costs, benefits and feasibility of different options.

On 29 March, the Government also announced new measures would be put into law to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows. Three key duties will be made law:

· A duty on Government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows and to reduce their impact;

· A duty on Government to report to Parliament on progress on implementing the plan;

· A duty on water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operation on an annual basis.

You can read more about this announcement at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/measures-to-reduce-harm-from-storm-overflows-to-be-made-law

These legally-binding obligations on water companies and the Government will reduce pollution in rivers and will therefore protect wildlife and public health.

Alongside these new duties, water companies have agreed to make available real-time data on sewage discharges from storm overflows at designated bathing waters all year round from this year. This data will be made available to help surfers, swimmers and other recreational water users to check the latest information and make informed choices on where to swim.

In addition to these new measures, water companies are already committed to an existing £1.1 billion programme of action in the current five-year business planning period (2020 to 2025) to improve the monitoring and management of storm overflows. This includes the installation of monitoring devices on the vast majority of storm overflows, 800 investigations and 798 improvement schemes to storm overflows.

Water companies have also committed to accelerate work to install monitoring devices to create a complete picture of the impact of storm overflows by 2023. This will help us to understand the impacts of storm overflows at all sites and to target improvements to where they are needed.

Finally, water companies are currently producing comprehensive Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans to assess the capacity of and risks to their wastewater networks over a 25-year planning horizon. We are also taking steps through the Environment Bill to place these Plans on a statutory basis. They will be another tool to help address the risks that storm overflows pose to the environment.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


Constituency Data

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