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Lib Dem and Green candidates bidding to become Stortford’s next MP condemn sewage scandal





The Green Party and Liberal Democrat candidates bidding to become Bishop’s Stortford’s next MP have slammed “staggering” sewage pollution.

Across the country, Environment Agency figures show spills into rivers and seas by water companies more than doubled last year - up from 1.75m hours in 2022 to 3.6m hours.

Water UK, the industry body for sewerage companies, blamed the record levels on wet weather. Rain and sewage share the same pipes, so heavy downpours can overwhelm treatment works.

Rye House Sewage Works. Picture from East Herts Green Party
Rye House Sewage Works. Picture from East Herts Green Party

As a result, on average last year there were 1,271 spills a day into waterways across England, compared to 825 in 2022, to prevent the system from backing up.

The Environment Agency recorded that Thames Water, responsible for sewage in the Hertford and Stortford constituency, discharged effluent 16,990 times last year, a 122% rise compared to 2022.

Liberal Democrat Herts County Cllr Helen Campbell said Conservative MPs had consistently voted against measures which would have helped to tackle the crisis, including her Tory General Election rival Julie Marson.

Liberal Democrat Helen Campbell, who will face Julie Marson at the next General Election
Liberal Democrat Helen Campbell, who will face Julie Marson at the next General Election

She wants the water industry watchdog Ofwat replaced with a tougher regulator and a ban on bonuses for water company bosses whose firms have dumped sewage into waterways.

She said: “It is a complete scandal that filthy sewage is being pumped into Hertford and Stortford’s rivers and waterways.

“Our community should not be forced to put up with this any longer yet time and again this Conservative government has voted against tougher action on sewage dumping.

"Here in Hertford and Stortford, the Liberal Democrats have been leading the way in holding water companies to account and have called for tougher action to stop sewage being dumped in local rivers including the Rib and the Stort.

Cllr Nick Cox, ready to fight the next General Election
Cllr Nick Cox, ready to fight the next General Election

“We need to see a ban on bonuses for water company bosses whose firms have pumped filth into our waterways and ensure our local community is protected from this filth."

Green Party East Herts Cllr Nick Cox, standing against both Cllr Campbell and Mrs Marson at the next General Election, said: “It’s nothing short of a national scandal that water companies continue to be allowed to dump more and more sewage into our rivers, waterways and coastal waters while splashing funds at shareholder dividends and fat cat salaries for water bosses.

“The £57bn in payouts from the water industry over the last 30 years should have gone towards improving standards and investing in infrastructure.

“Greens would end this failed experiment in privatisation and bring the water companies back into public control so we can clean up this industry.

“Rivers and coastlines up and down the country have faced years of assault at the hands of the water companies and a government that has refused to act.

“Currently water companies can, almost with impunity, dump sewage into our rivers, waterways and coastal waters with an appalling cost to public health and our wildlife.

“This situation cannot go on. For decades, money that should have been invested in improved infrastructure has been trousered by water company executives and shareholders.

“Only the Greens have the courage to challenge this failed experiment with privatisation and to say that a service as vital as water and sewage needs to be run by the public and for the public good.

“Shareholder payouts need to be halted with immediate effect and, ultimately, the water supply needs to be brought back into public ownership at the earliest practicable opportunity in order to end leaks, stop sewage discharges and cut bills.”



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