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'Time to Wake up and Smell the Sewage in Medway' - say the Lib Dems

July 16, 2022 9:07 AM
By Stuart Bourne for Medway Liberal Democrats

voucher graphicMedway Liberal Democrats are disappointed, but not surprised, that in the annual DEFRA report on the performance of English water companies, Southern Water had the highest number of pollution incidents and was last, with just a one star rating.

The report stated that in 2021, Southern Water reported 372 separate incidents of pollution getting into our rivers and seas, 12 of which were classed as serious. These numbers are deemed significantly above the agreed targets set. Additionally Southern Water has been awarded the lowest Supply Demand Balance Index (SDBI) score, in response to not fully doing its job in supplying residents with safe drinking water.

Medway residents deserve better. This failing company cannot be allowed to continue polluting our precious rivers and seas. The River Medway and its estuary are at the heart of our towns, providing a haven for our precious wildlife and a place for leisure and recreation for all of us. Yet the government has done little to stop water companies from polluting, with Medway MPs repeatedly voting against sensible laws proposed by the Liberal Democrat that would strengthen the rules on water pollution.

The Liberal Democrats have also proposed a 'Sewage Tax' on the profits of water companies, which would then be used to pay for the cleaning up our rivers after sewage dumps. Southern Water made profits of £138.8million in 2021. Our proposal would be to then charge them a 16% tax on these profits and use that money to create an emergency fund to for the clean-up of our polluted rivers.

John Castle, spokesperson for Medway Liberal Democrats said 'This report is damning and shows that Southern Water is doing little to clean up their act. The River Medway is a vital part of our towns, even more so to places like St Mary's Island. I wouldn't want to wake up in the morning and see the river filled with raw sewage, and I know the businesses on the Island that rely on the river wouldn't want that either.'

Medway Liberal Democrats are calling on this government to wake up and smell the sewage. We can no longer simply let companies to like Southern Water to police themselves. This government and the Medway MPs need to listen to our sensible solutions and stand up for our residents. Medway and its river deserves better.

ENDS

Additional notes for Editors:

Defra report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-and-sewerage-companies-in-england-environmental-performance-report-2021

Lib Dem sewage tax press release: http://medwaylibdems.org.uk/a51fWH