Sewage dumping in New Forest reaches 17,798 hours in 2023

9 May 2024
Jack at Dane Stream

New figures analysing sewage dumped in Council areas have revealed that sewage was dumped into waterways in the New Forest for 17,798 hours in 2023.

The analysis is based on official data from the Environment Agency, compiled by the House of Commons Library for the Liberal Democrats. It shows sewage was dumped into local rivers and along the coastline on 1,338 separate occasions in 2023. 

This is a shocking 287% rise in the duration of sewage spills compared to the previous year, showing how the sewage scandal has worsened under the Conservative government’s watch.

Sewage was dumped into England’s rivers over 460,000 times for a total of over 3.6 million hours in 2023.

It comes after the Liberal Democrats local election success where the party campaigned relentlessly on sewage and the local environment. The party gained over 100 seats and control of two councils, beating the Conservatives and coming second for the first time since 1996. 

The Liberal Democrats have led the way in campaigning against sewage dumping for years. The party is calling for strict measures including replacing Ofwat with a tougher regulator, a ban on bonuses for water company bosses whose firms have dumped sewage into waterways and the declaration of a national environmental emergency.

Last year, the Liberal Democrat-run Stockport Council became the first Council in the country to launch an official sewage inquiry. The inquiry asked for evidence from the local water companies and was chaired by Liberal Democrat councillor Lisa Smart. 

Liberal Democrat General Election Candidate for New Forest West, Cllr Jack Davies said:

“It is disgusting that Southern Water pumped their filthy sewage into our waterways so many times last year. 

“On doorstep after doorstep, people across the New Forest told me how furious they were that filthy sewage had been pumped into their rivers and waterways - they want to send this Conservative government a message. 

“The Liberal Democrats have led the way for years in campaigning for tougher action. We want to see a tougher water regulator, an end to bonuses for polluting water company bosses and stronger protections for our local environment.

“Come the General Election, Liberal Democrats will be campaigning hard against this national scandal that has been allowed to take hold while the Conservative Government has sat on its hands and looked the other way.”

Liberal Democrat General Election Candidate for New Forest East, Cllr Caroline Rackham, also wrote this week to New Forest East's Conservative MP to urge the Government to take action on sewage-dumping.

Commenting, Caroline added:

"Water companies claim they can legally dump into a river up to 10 times in a year. This gives rivers no chance to recover and is killing the ecosystem.

"It needs to be stopped. There are other ways to deal with this - better maintenance of the infrastructure, natural filtration beds, different surfaces which allow water to dissipate in built-up areas.

"We need more schemes and less sewage."

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