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Swim England expresses disappointment over ‘weaker’ changes to Environment Bill

Swim England has expressed its disappointment after the Government voted through ‘weaker’ changes to the Environment Bill – and has vowed the campaign to #EndSewagePollution is far from over.

MPs last night went against the Duke of Wellington amendment to place a new duty on sewerage undertakers in England and Wales to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage’.

The amendment would also have required the Secretary of State, regulators Ofwat and the Environment Agency to ensure compliance.

However, the Government rejected this amendment in favour of its own proposed changes.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said: “We feel the amendments voted through by MPs are weaker than those suggested by the Lords.

Continue to campaign

“Whilst this is disappointing, we will continue to campaign for an end to sewage pollution and for cleaner waters for swimmers, animals and the environment alike.”

Swim England’s #EndSewagePollution coalition partner The Rivers Trust has produced a helpful briefing setting out the latest situation  which can be viewed by clicking here.

Jane added: “The Environment Bill does contain some positive measures and what is now important is ensuring that the Government, as well as Ofwat and the Environment Agency as the relevant regulators, really prioritise enforcing effective action from the water companies to secure the improvements our waterways so desperately need.

“This must start with strengthening the current draft ‘Strategic Policy Statement’ (SPS) for water.

“The campaign to #EndSewagePollution is far from over and we will continue to campaign on this important issue until we can all enjoy cleaner waters free from the scourge of sewage pollution.”