The Liberal Democrats call for action after shock figures show Wessex Water dumped sewage in Taunton Deane over 1500 times in 2023.

25 May 2024
Gideon by trees

The Liberal Democrats have called for a new protected status for local rivers and marine protected areas, after shocking figures reveal that Wessex Water dumped sewage 1,736 times in Taunton Deane in 2023.

Analysis of official data from the Environment Agency by the party shows that the company discharged sewage in Taunton Deane’s waterways for a staggering 15,720 hours in 2023.

In an effort to tackle sewage dumping, the Liberal Democrats have announced a massive expansion of marine protected areas and a new Blue Flag status for rivers will be included in the party’s General Election manifesto. 

The introduction of Blue Flag status would set legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping in those sites, giving special protected status for swimmers and wildlife. 

Taunton and Wellington Liberal Democrats have led the way in campaigning against sewage dumping in the area.

Nationally, the party recently announced plans to abolish Ofwat, introducing a new regulator with greater powers, which follows its plans for a ban on water company executive bonuses.

Gideon Amos, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Taunton and Wellington, said: “Thanks to volunteers at French Weir winning new status for the bathing place at their park on the Tone we now, for the first time, have data showing how much pollution is in our river and the results are shocking. 

“Having been a keen wild swimmer, I’ve now had to advise people not to go in until the quality improves. 

"It just goes to show how much Conservative MPs have stood by while swimmers and wildlife are affected by sewage discharges, not only here but around the country. 

“This scandal has to end now. The Conservative party has failed to protect swimmers and wildlife and instead allowed profiteering on a massive scale. 

“The Liberal Democrats locally have the strongest record and nationally will have the boldest manifesto on cleaning up our rivers. 

“Families should be free to swim safely in the knowledge that our rivers are not polluted with sewage.”

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