Abolish Ofwat and stop the sewage dumping
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
The sheer quantity of raw sewage being dumped into Britain's rivers and coastal areas is a scandal and a disgrace.
Everyone should be able to enjoy the wonderful natural beauties our country has to offer, with open green spaces and blue rivers. But the Conservatives are neglecting our natural environment and letting water companies get away with pouring millions of tonnes of sewage into our rivers.
In the last two years, across England and Wales, there have been almost a million sewage discharges, lasting more than 7 million hours in total. Meanwhile, the top water company executives took home £51 million in remuneration, including more than £30 million in bonuses.
It's time for the Government to stop ignoring the sewage scandal
Conservative MPs have utterly failed to stand up for their constituents and put a stop to this.
They have ignored the Liberal Democrat calls for a sewage tax and a ban on bonuses for the bosses responsible. They even voted against tougher action on sewage dumping, and the Government plans to let it continue until 2050.
And Ofwat - the water regulator - has become the powerless accomplice in the Conservatives' environmental crimes.
It has given six of the eleven water companies a passing grade on pollution, even as they continue pouring sewage into our rivers. Ofwat labels three companies "top performers", even though they are responsible for more than 2.6 million hours of sewage dumps in the last two years.
That has to change. So the Liberal Democrats are calling for Ofwat to be abolished and replaced with a tough new independent regulator with real powers to protect our beaches and rivers from sewage dumps.
Our new regulator would force water companies to clean up the mess they're making by investing their profits in fixing our sewage system and reducing leaks. It would have the power to hand out unlimited fines and, if necessary, to prosecute companies who fail to meet these legal duties.
It's time for the Government to stop ignoring the sewage scandal and start taking real action to clean up our rivers.