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Welsh Affairs Committee calls for action to end to ‘deeply damaging sewage discharges’ in Wales

24 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Sewage

The Chair of Westminster’s Welsh Affairs Committee has called for greater urgency from regulators and water companies to prevent further, “deeply damaging sewage discharges” in Wales.

In a letter to Wales’ Minister for Climate Change Julie James, Committee Chair Stephen Crabb draws attention to evidence heard by the Committee over two evidence sessions with campaigners, water companies and Ofwat.

The key issues of concern highlighted by the Preseli Pembrokeshire MP include the lack of accurate monitoring of the volume of discharges and the frequency of outflows, the number of ‘unpermitted’ sewage discharges and the low number of prosecutions in Wales to enforce better water quality.

According to an analysis published in November, Welsh constituencies hold the top three places in England and Wales for the overall highest number of sewage dumps, and five out of the top ten.

Preseli Pembrokeshire, Mr Crabb’s constituency, recorded the highest number of sewage dumps in the whole of England and Wales, with 6,754 dumps in 2021 (79,501 hours).

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and Dwyfor Meirionnydd came a close second and third.

Damaging

“We are all too aware of the number of sewage discharge events taking place on a routine basis, thanks to increased media attention and the efforts of campaigners to shine a light on this unpleasant practice, Mr Crabb said.

“This can be damaging to human health and wildlife alike and should be minimised in any nation committed to protecting our natural ecosystems.

“Wales’ sewerage system is old and under enormous pressure from increased rainfall: it needs to be made fit for purpose.

“Unfortunately, our committee, from what we have heard in evidence sessions with those responsible, are not convinced that there is an urgent plan to make crucial infrastructure upgrades.

“I have therefore today written to the Climate Change Minister at the Welsh Government to understand what steps are being taken to address these problems and protect Welsh rivers and coasts.”

Blue Flag beaches

Dŵr Cymru dumped sewage onto Welsh Blue Flag beaches 579 times, lasting an astonishing 6,757 hours according to the analysis of Environment Agency data by the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

The worst incident was on Poppit Sands Beach near Cardigan, with sewage dumped 79 times lasting 1,518 hours.

The findings followed a major report by Surfers Against Sewage which reported illegal “dry spills” are also taking place, meaning water companies, including Welsh Water, are discharging sewage even when there has not been heavy rainfall.

The report also found an increase in the number of cases of people being sick after swimming in natural waters. Including a case study in Poppit Sands.


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William George Thomas Thomas
William George Thomas Thomas
9 months ago

In 2012 the cockle gatherers of Llanelli / Gowerton took the UK to the European Court. In 2017 the court decision was Guilty as charged. In 2018 Dwr cymru in an online published PowerPoint presentation admitted to discharging millions of cubic meters of sewage into the Loughor Estuary. Their EDM reports disclose many thousands of discharges into rivers in the same area. NRW the WAG enforcement arm still answers queries/complaints regarding the problem that the Carmarthenshire SAC SSSI and protected area are unaffected and water quality is not compromised. Will we ever get the truth and will the Water Companies… Read more »

Windy
Windy
9 months ago

No bonuses or dividends should be paid in any year any discharges are made, and profits should be capped for a further period of time after that year, perhaps that will stop the few profiting from the misery they cause to the many

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 months ago

It’s ironic . As part of the EU Wales & Britain had cleaner rivers & coastline. And once we left after Brexit our rivers & coastline became open sewers. Bonfire of quangos. Bonfire of rules & regulations more like.

William George Thomas Thomas
William George Thomas Thomas
9 months ago

I put up the first post about the Llanelli Gower Coast situation. We began measuring the effects of sewage discharges on the shellfish populations in 2002. Our Findings were that the shellfish meats were contaminated above the legal levels of 18,000 particles per 100 grams of meat. At this point, the beds would be closed by the Local Authority until such time as they dropped below that figure. We began gathering evidence, we had many meetings with the regulators and Dwr Cymru presenting our evidence, both organisations claimed that things were good despite the regulator having published two maps from… Read more »

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