Share your love of swimming - Get info on training to become a swim teacher from just £79

Raw sewage discharge at ‘clearly unacceptable’ levels

Raw sewage was dumped into England’s open waters 372,533 times in 2021, according to new figures released by the Environment Agency.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson said the figure was ‘unacceptable’ and showed the ‘scale of the challenge’ to tackle the issue.

The figure is lower than the total of more than 400,000 sewage discharges recorded in 2020.

Government figures showed that almost nine in 10 storm overflows now have monitoring devices which provide vital information on their use to hold water companies to account.

All storm overflows will have monitors by the end of 2023, supporting the Environment Agency and Ofwat in holding water companies to account.

A consultation on the Government’s Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan has also been launched in a bid to shape targets water companies must achieve in the future.

There are around 15,000 storm overlooks in England with the discharges in 2021 totalling 2,687,452 hours.

‘Enough is enough’

Jane said: “These figures are clearly unacceptable.

“They show the scale of the challenge still facing all of us who care about the health of our rivers, seas, lakes and canals.

“What is clear, is that it is the power of people up and down the country standing up and saying ‘enough is enough’ that has driven this issue up the agenda and is forcing action.

“I say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in campaigning on this important issue.

“With your continued support we can keep the pressure up for the cleaner waters our country deserves.

“We will be carefully considering the proposals of the Government’s Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan and responding to the consultation in due course.”

The consultation is open until Thursday 12 May and can be completed by clicking here.