The Liberal Democrats have passed a motion at their Spring Conference today which demands local environmental groups sit on the boards of water companies.
The move follows outrage at water companies discharging sewage into rivers over 400,000 times in 2020, according to the Environment Agency.
Sewage discharge includes Thames Water dumping more than two billion litres of sewage into the River Thames in just two days alone, the Environmental Audit Committee discovered. Thames Water were also found to have pumped raw sewage into the River Wey near Guilford an estimated 1,780 hours in one year.
By forcing water companies to accept local environmentalists onto their management boards, the public will be able to hold firms to account for dumping sewage into rivers. Local groups will hear first hand how bad the problem is from water companies and be able to release the details to the public.
The move is inspired by former frontman of the Undertones, Feargal Sharkey, who is now the leading campaigner to save rivers from sewage dumps. In particular, Feargal Sharkey has campaigned to save the country’s precious chalk streams from water companies’ sewage dumps.
Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Rural Affairs, said: “It is time to name and shame water companies for their disgusting sewage dumps in our rivers. Local environmental groups should have a seat at the table to stop water companies trying to get away with outrageous damage to wildlife habitats and popular swimming spots.
“Water companies make billions in profit every year yet get away with destroying our rivers and chalk streams. The whole thing stinks.
“The campaign to save our rivers from sewage has captured the public’s attention like nothing I’ve seen in years. We have to thank Feargal Sharkey for that. I want to see a Feargal on the board of every water company, ensuring this scandal ends once and for all.”