Surfers Against Sewage report: Untreated sewage dumped into UK water ways ‘1,000 times every day for year’

Untreated sewage has been dumped into UK waters greater than 399,000 times within the final 12 months, a marketing campaign group has claimed.

Surfers Against Sewage has launched its annual Water High quality Report for 2023, which claims uncooked sewage was discharged a median of 1,090 times a day.

The report, which checked out knowledge from environmental regulators throughout the nation between October 2022 and September this 12 months, additional claims there have been 1000’s of stories of sewage-related illness in the identical interval.

The SAS map exhibits the sheer scale of sewage dumping throughout rivers and coastlines within the UK

(Surfers Against Sewage)

SA , which campaigns for clear oceans, rivers and lakes, says it obtained practically 2,000 stories of sewage-related sickness and illness final 12 months.

The environmental group mentioned 40 UK places had been sampled weekly by volunteer residents all through the 2023 bathing season. Of those, 20 had been fashionable websites for swimming and 20 had been upstream of close by sewage overflow related to the swimming spots, though not one of the websites are formally designated bathing waters.

The marketing campaign group discovered that 24 of the places could be deemed “poor” high quality had been they designated bathing waters, as per the Surroundings Company’s methodology.

The analysis additionally suggests 4 out of 20 places confirmed a transparent lower in water high quality from places upstream to these downstream of a sewage overflow.

SAS famous that many overflows in Scotland and Northern Eire go unreported, which means the headline determine is more likely to be an underestimate of the frequency of sewage discharges into UK waters.

Carla Magee (left) and Aine McAuley from Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) protest towards air pollution at Lough Neagh in Northern Eire, which has been polluted by lethal blue-green algae


Giles Bristow, chief government of SAS, mentioned: “But once more, our annual water high quality report reveals the complacency and disrespect of governments, water firms and regulators in direction of the well being of rivers and coastlines within the UK – and by extension individuals’s well being.

“We’re seeing failure at every stage – from governments and regulators failing to implement the legislation, to water firm fats cats pocketing soiled cash and refusing to scrub up their act – with most people ending up the largest loser every time.

“What number of times can we are saying ‘sufficient is sufficient’? Our leaders have to prioritise transparency, guarantee legal guidelines and laws are correctly enforced, and forestall water firms making the most of air pollution.”

SAS mentioned it has developed the Finish Sewage Air pollution Manifesto in collaboration with environmental charities, group teams and sport governing our bodies, which units out insurance policies to scrub up UK rivers and seas.

These embody imposing the legislation and laws, stopping air pollution for revenue, empowering a nature-led strategy to sort out sewage air pollution and guaranteeing transparency on sewage air pollution.

This Surfers Against Sewage map exhibits the reported discharges from August this 12 months on the top of the summer time holidays

(Surfers Against Sewage )

Water minister Rebecca Pow mentioned: “We agree the amount of air pollution in our waters is completely unacceptable, and that is the primary Authorities in historical past to take such complete motion to sort out it.

“Our Plan for Water is delivering extra funding, stronger regulation and more durable enforcement to make sure every overflow is monitored, scale back all sources of air pollution and hand out swifter fines and penalties.

“This plan contains targets so strict they’re resulting in the biggest infrastructure programme in water firm historical past – £60 billion over 25 years – which in flip will lead to a whole bunch of 1000’s fewer sewage discharges.”

(left to proper) Helen Armstrong, Ali Bryans, Aine McAuley and Carla Magee from Surfers Against Sewage


An Surroundings Company spokesperson mentioned there’s” extra to do” to enhance designated bathing websites and waterways and pledged to work with a wide range of teams from farmers to water firms to cut back air pollution.

A spokesperson for the commerce affiliation Water UK mentioned: “We must always all have the ability to safely take pleasure in our native seashores, rivers and different waterways. Water business funding has reworked coastal bathing water with a sevenfold enhance within the variety of seashores attaining an ‘glorious’ from the Surroundings Company because the Nineteen Nineties.

“We now have to do the identical for our rivers and inland bathing areas to make sure we meet public expectation. To do that firms are proposing to speculate £11 billion over the subsequent seven years to massively scale back storm overflows and radically enhance our rivers for bathing and different leisure actions.”

A spokesperson for watchdog Ofwat added: “We’ve got pushed firms to take pressing motion to chop sewage discharges and have not too long ago introduced new measures to penalise firms that fail to totally monitor their storm overflows.

“From subsequent 12 months, we will even have new powers to take motion towards firms that pay out unearned dividends and may guarantee prospects now not foot the invoice for inappropriate bonuses. Nevertheless, we’re clear, present water firm efficiency is just not ok.”

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