Sewage Dumping in River
Sewage Dumping in River

In Sheffield, we’re world-famous for the beautiful countryside and waters right on our doorstep. We have the famous River Don and the River Sheaf and access to many reservoirs  that provide an incredibly important habitat for a number of animals, including otters.

Preserving access to clean, safe water is an intangible right.

Yet, the Tories are continuing to turn our rivers effectively into open sewers after 14 appalling years of failing to regulate private companies.

Sewage dumping is supposed to only happen in extreme circumstances when the drainage system has become overwhelmed, meaning that it is extremely likely the system will be backed up and flow into people’s homes. To mitigate the risk of sewage overflowing private operators pump the sewage through local storm overflows.

Nationally, there was a 54% increase in the number of sewage spills by private water operators and in the past two years the amount of sewage dumped has more than doubled to more than 820 times per day.

In data released by the Environment Agency, the private operator Yorkshire Water admitted a drastic increase in the number of overflows releasing sewage discharge.

In the River Don which runs through the very heart of Sheffield, there were 4791 sewage spills in 2023 and there has been a 33% increase in incidents of sewage dumping from 2022 to 2023 – this is an absolute disgrace!

In the constituency, over the last year there were more than 335 incidents of illegal slippages.

This is all while water operators such as Yorkshire Water line their pockets to the detriment of people’s health. In 2023, Yorkshire Water announced it paid more than £60 million in dividends and recorded profits almost doubled.

A Labour government will hold water companies to account and ensure that are our rivers and reservoirs are safe for all. We will:

  • give Ofwat the powers to ban the payment of bonuses to water bosses who are found to pump significant levels of raw sewage into our precious rivers, lakes and seas.
  • expand the regulatory powers of Ofwat so that water bosses who fail to meet high environmental standards on sewage pollution will be met with criminal sanctions to ensure they can’t profit from breaking the law,
  • Force all companies to monitor every single water outlet.
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