Committee calls on Welsh Gov to protect Wales’ rivers from raw sewage discharge
A Senedd Committee is calling on the Welsh Government to ensure that Wales’ waterways are protected from sewage discharge after a law was passed in Westminster.
The Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee has written a letter to Julie James MS, the Minister for Climate Change, to clarify a number of issues surrounding the current rules governing the release of sewage into Welsh rivers and seas by water companies in Wales.
The ‘Environment Act 2021’, passed in Westminster, introduces a range of new measures that aim to reduce the harmful impact of sewage on rivers and coastal areas in England.
These include new requirements on water companies in England, the UK Minister, and the Environment Agency. But according to the Committee, there are no equivalent measures in place in Wales.
The letter asks the Minister for Climate Change if the ‘Environment Act 2021’ means that rivers and coastal areas in England are better protected from the adverse impacts of sewage than those in Wales. It also asks if the Minister has considered legislating in Wales to reduce the harm caused by releasing sewage into water.
‘Incredible natural environment’
Llyr Gruffydd MS, Chair of the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Wales is blessed with an incredible natural environment and our rivers and seas play an integral part in this.
“Dumping raw sewage into our waterways is a highly damaging and contentious practice and the recent changes to the law in England makes the Committee wonder: are the measures in place to protect rivers and seas now weaker here than across the border? And is the Welsh Government doing enough to bring an end to this practice?
“It’s imperative that the Minister looks into the questions we have raised with urgency to ensure that Wales is not left behind when it comes to protecting our environment.”
The Welsh Government has been asked for a response.