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Lakes and Rivers: Sewage

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 102633, tabled on 12 January 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the amount of sewage discharged into rivers and lakes.

Answered on

20 January 2022

We have been clear that the amount of pollution in our rivers and lakes is completely unacceptable, and so we are the first Government to take action to tackle the historic infrastructure issue of sewage overflows.

Last year, the Government published a new draft set of strategic priorities for Ofwat, the financial regulator for the water industry. In this publication, the government set out its expectation that water companies must take steps to "significantly reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows."

The landmark Environment Act has placed our ambition on a statutory footing, setting a duty for water companies to achieve a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from Storm Overflows. The Act also ensures that water companies are more transparent, requiring the publication of spill data in near real time and the monitoring of water quality impacts of their sewage discharges. The Government has also committed to publish a Discharge Reduction Plan which will be published by September 2022.