There is great concern at reports that Thames Water, Seven Trent Water and Wessex Water discharges raw sewage into Cotswold rivers. This happened 1,260 times in 2020.
Council notes that
- 1. There is great concern at reports that Thames Water, Seven Trent Water and Wessex Water discharges raw sewage into Cotswold rivers. This happened 1,260 times in 2020.
- 2. Statistics from the Rivers Trust shows sewage discharges across all locations in the Cotswold district in 2020 occurred for 17,609 hours in total.
- 3. These timings show that the discharges have become routine, rather than an emergency response to exceptional conditions.
- 4. In response to a petition on such discharges, the Government has stated that ‘Tackling the harm caused by sewage is a top priority for Government’.
- 5. The Government has stated that ‘Climate change has led to increased rainfall and water infrastructure has not kept pace with development growth’.
- 6. In addition to having a negative impact on local wildlife and forcing a local watercress farm to cease trading, this also hugely affects the quality of life and the enjoyment of water-based activities for residents along the course of the rivers and at times causes contaminated water to be on roads and pavements, and into local properties.
Council believes that
- 1. The establishment of a Storm Overflows Taskforce and a date of September 2022 from the Government to publish a plan to reduce sewage discharges from storm outflows is too little, too late to tackle the issue.
- 2. The rules on sewage discharges must be tightened and enforcement improved, in conjunction with the Environment Agency.
- 3. Housing developers should meet the costs of the required supply and disposal of water from new homes.
- 4. The Government must make capital funding urgently available to address these issues.
- 5. Solutions to these issues cannot be local, as sewage output in one geographic area affects another.
- 1. The Leader and Chief Executive to write to the relevant Government Ministers, requesting an acceleration in the capital programme to lower risks of untreated sewage discharges into our rivers, and an assurance that local housing developers will be expected to fund water infrastructure to meet the needs of new housing.
- 2. The Leader and Chief Executive to work with other local authorities to call on the Government to provide guidance and funding to local planning authorities to challenge water companies to deliver the urgent upgrades required to water treatment capacity.
Council resolves to
- 1. Set up a working group, with neighbouring Local Planning Authorities, that will develop appropriate policy to guide planning application determination and enforcement in those areas where sewage treatment is insufficient. Incorporating legislative frameworks and the five principles recently outlined in legislation: integration, prevention, precautionary, rectification at source, and the polluter pays principle.
Rivers Trust Data on Sewage Discharge in the Cotswolds - 2020
Where? Times Hours Company
Tetbury 122 502 WW
Didmarton 96 1886 WW
Avening 90 283 STW
South Cerney 72 735 TW
Ampney 108 2316 TW
Fairford 138 2492 TW
Lechlade 51 845 TW
Andoversford 50 822 TW
Northleach 70 984 TW
Bledington 92 1536 TW
Broadwell 31 481 TW
Moreton 62 911 TW
Sheephouse Farm 10 39 STW
Blockley 212 3330 STW
Chipping Campden 49 407 STW
Mickleton 7 40 STW