Tory sewage scandal sullies Manchester Withington with a new sewage dumping event taking place every 2 days

Last year, the Conservatives allowed sixteen and a half days’ worth of raw sewage to be dumped into Manchester Withington’s open spaces, the Labour Party has revealed.

Labour analysis of Environment Agency data shows that in 2022, raw sewage was discharged into Manchester Withington for 397 hours, the equivalent of there being a continuous flow of sewage taking place for over 2 weeks of the year.

Labour’s research also points to 194 sewage dumping events having taken place locally last year. This equates to a new sewage spill every 45 hours, a damning indictment of the Tories allowing raw sewage to polluting the places in which people live, work and holiday.

The data comes after Labour analysis revealed that nationally since 2016, a new sewage dumping event has taken place an average of every two-and-a-half minutes, with rivers, lakes, seas, and beaches having faced a staggering 1,276 years’ worth of raw sewage over just a seven-year period.

The news will inevitably once again spark serious concern at the environmental, health and economic impact that sewage dumping is having on communities across the country.

Indeed, a Parliamentary Question tabled by Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon, revealed that the Conservative Government has failed to conduct any economic assessments of the impact of sewage pollution on tourism trade and businesses.

At the end of last year, the Labour Party revealed that sewage discharges more than doubled from 14.7 per overflow in 2016 to 35.4 in 2019, coinciding with current Environment Secretary Therese Coffey’s decision to cut funding for environmental protection, during her tenure as Water Minister.

These new revelations on sewage dumping come as Coffey continues to face significant pressure after a troubled start to her new role, having broken the Government’s own statutory deadline for publishing water quality targets; announced a 36-year delay to cleaning-up waterways; told Parliament that meeting polluting water bosses wasn’t her priority and been heavily criticised for announcing a storm overflow reduction plan containing no reduction measures.

During the passage of the Environment Bill, Conservative MPs voted to allow water firms to continue sewage dumping, having blocked a Labour-backed amendment that would have progressively eliminated sewage dumping.

Last September, during Labour Party Conference, Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon announced that a future Labour Government would implement measures that would force water companies to clean up their act and progressively end sewage dumping and the culture of water companies treating our natural environment as an open sewer.

Jim McMahon OBE MP, Shadow Environment Secretary said:

“That the Tories have allowed villages, towns, and cities across the country to be treated as open sewers shows that they have no respect for places where people live, work and holiday.

“Communities in south Manchester should be able to just enjoy the place where they live without having to worrying about encountering filthy raw sewage.

“The next Labour Government will end the Tory sewage scandal, delivering mandatory monitoring on all sewage outlets, introducing automatic fines for discharges, setting ambitious targets for stopping systematic sewage dumping and ensuring that water bosses are held to account for negligence.”

Jeff Smith MP said:

“The Tory sewage scandal has polluted waters and open spaces across the country with filthy raw sewage. We sadly see this locally with the impact on the River Mersey. And it’s been revealed that United Utilities, the water company serving the North West of England, is Britain’s worst sewage polluter.

“Earlier this week I had a useful meeting with the Environment Agency, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, fellow local MPs, councillors and a local professor from the University of Manchester at the Mersey.

“We are determined to work together to clean up our rivers and green spaces, and to hold the Government and reckless water companies to account for their lack of care for our environment.”

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