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“Don’t go in the water” says Harlow Labour leader

Health / Mon 3rd Apr 2023 at 07:27am

“DON’T go in the water” says Harlow’s leader of the Labour group. “Its not Jaws that’s the danger it’s sewage.”

“With so many Harlow residents unable to afford a holiday this year, thanks to the Conservative cost of living crisis, those looking for an affordable break might be thinking of a day trip to the sea side or even some relaxing time on a river bank. But danger lurks in the water, the danger of coming face to face with the contents of the toilets that were flushed a day before. Faeces, used sanitary products, condoms and disease carrying microbes are increasingly sharing bathing waters and polluting our rivers.

Thanks to weak regulation and shockingly poor enforcement by the Conservative government, water companies that are enjoying record profits, are dumping raw sewage directly into our precious waterways.

To give an idea of the scale of the problem, pollution warnings for dozens of beaches in England and Wales have been issued after water companies discharged untreated sewage and wastewater into the sea, with bathers warned not to swim on 82 beaches. Last year official figures showed that there were an average 825 sewage spills each day into England’s waterways. All this is not only visually upsetting, it’s harmful to the environment and a major danger to health.

And what has the government done to keep us safe? Shamefully, 265 Conservative MPs, including Harlow’s MP Robert Halfon, voted down an amendment to stop private water companies from dumping raw sewage into the UKs coastlines and then this week hypocritically announced fines for those that do so. If the Government had properly regulated the water companies and ensured the promised investment as made rather than pay out huge shareholder dividend we would not be in such a mess.

Meanwhile the environment and people that like to visit rivers and the seaside suffer. This will only change when there is a change of government. For the sake of our seas and our rivers a general election cannot come soon enough.

Cllr Chris Vince

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5 Comments for “Don’t go in the water” says Harlow Labour leader:

Edward Vine
2023-04-03 07:46:26

If you sell off "the family silver" to rogues and vagabonds it's bound to be corrupted and lost for the sake of profit. The price of privatisation.

Peter Henegan
2023-04-03 07:46:40

London's great stink of 1858 was caused by sewage being dumped into rivers. 165 years on, what has changed? Perhaps Corbyn's plan to nationalise water wasn't so bad.

Kim Oconnor
2023-04-03 08:59:32

It's a disgrace that money comes before environment.. We learn nothing. When money talks louder then our need to take care of her. Shameful what this government is doing to our nature up and down this country, because money is more important.. THE GREEN PARTY HARLOW.

David Forman
2023-04-03 10:00:59

Sir Keir Starmer abandoned his pledge to renationalize the water companies, one of many pledges Starmer has broken since running for leader. Only a publicly owned water utility will solve the current problems.

David Forman
2023-04-03 10:45:16

Mr Vince offers his usual simplistic vote Labour solution. The House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee published last month a report on this topic. On page 36 of their report it says: "An independent evidence project commissioned by the Storm Overflows Taskforce, established by the Government in 2020, stated: "The Taskforce identified 4 ways to reduce storm overflow overuse: • Modify the current sewer system, which combines polluted water with unpolluted water, so that the two types of water are separate. When water needs to be released via storm overflows, unpolluted water can be released; • Add capacity to the sewer system to store and treat more water; • Manage storm runoff differently, so that it does not all enter the sewer system, using partly or wholly nature-based solutions such as sustainable drainage systems; • Treat discharges from storm overflows on site to a standard where environmental harm is avoided. On page 37 it says that new housing developments connection to waste water differs in England and Wales: "Currently, in England, developers have the right to connect new developments to combined sewer systems, without separating foul and surface water, and without regard to the capacity of the sewer to take on a new connection. This differs to Wales, where the right to connect was removed in 2019. In Wales, all construction work with drainage implications, of at least two properties or 100m² or more, is required to have sustainable drainage systems that comply with national standards. County Councils have Sustainable Drainage Approval Bodies that developers must seek approval for their drainage systems from." See report at: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/517/industry-and-regulators-committee/news/194330/failures-of-regulators-water-companies-and-government-leaving-public-and-environment-in-the-mire/

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