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River Chelt: Sewage

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL789, tabled on 8 June 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to prevent the discharge of raw sewage into the River Chelt (1) near Charlton Kings, (2) at St Peter’s Park, and (3) at Hatherley Brook.

Answered on

27 June 2022

We are the first government to take concerted action to reduce storm sewage discharges. The current use of sewage discharges is unacceptable, which is why this government is committed to a step change on action to protect public health and the environment from storm overflows.

The Strategic Policy Statement for Ofwat sets an expectation on water companies to make progressive reductions in the adverse impacts from storm overflows, including reducing their frequency and volume, and the landmark Environment Act has placed this ambition on a statutory footing. The Environment Act also places new duties on water companies to monitor water quality upstream and downstream of overflows, which will drive further environmental protections and help hold water companies to account.

We recently consulted on the largest programme to tackle storm overflows in history, and proposed targets will see an 80% reduction in all discharges. If we do not see progress, we will not hesitate to take further action.

Since privatisation of the water industry, around £30 billion has been invested to reduce pollution. Water company investment is being scaled up to a further £7.1 billion, in the current five-year price review period.