Sewage dumping in Lewes constituency soars by 89% as Conservatives warned of “reckoning at ballot box”

20 Apr 2024
graphic representation of increase in sewage dumps in Lewes constituency from 997 spills in 2022 to 1790 spills in 2023;

Sewage was dumped into local rivers and coastlines for 21, 178 hours in 2023, new figures have revealed.

This is a shocking 89% rise in the duration of sewage spills compared to the previous year, showing how the sewage scandal has worsened under the Conservative government’s watch.

The analysis is based on official data from the Environment Agency, compiled by the House of Commons Library for the Liberal Democrats. It shows sewage was dumped into local rivers such as the Ouse and Cuckmere and off our coastline at Newhaven and Seaford on 1,790 separate occasions in 2023. 

This is a 80% increase in the number of sewage spills, up from 997 in 2022.

Last year, sewage was dumped into England’s rivers over 460,000 times for a total of over 3.6 million hours in 2023.

9 in 10 constituencies in England saw a rise in the duration of sewage dumping and 90% saw a rise in the number of spills in 2023 compared to the previous year.

The Liberal Democrats have led the way in campaigning against sewage dumping for years. The party is calling for strict measures including replacing Ofwat with a tougher regulator, a ban on bonuses for water company bosses whose firms have dumped sewage into waterways and the declaration of a national environmental emergency. 

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Lewes constituency, James MacCleary said: “It is disgusting that there has been such a sharp rise in Southern Water pumping their filthy sewage into local rivers such as the Ouse and Cuckmere and off our coastline at Newhaven and Seaford.

“Local people are sick to the back teeth with Conservative MPs, including local MP and government minister Maria Caulfield, voting time and again to allow water companies to get away with this environmental vandalism. The whole thing stinks.

“Come the election, this government faces a reckoning at the ballot box from people fed up with this sewage scandal.

“The Liberal Democrats have led the way for years in campaigning for tougher action to stop this filthy practice. We want to see a tougher water regulator, an end to bonuses for polluting water company bosses and stronger protections for our local environment.”

Details of sewage spills by parliamentary constituency can be found here.
Original source: Environment Agency (EA), Annual Returns for Storm Overflows 2023

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