Sewage monitors on UK coastline ‘faulty or not installed’, reveals data
Seaside resorts are ‘being swamped by foul sewage’: Liberal Democrats Representative image (iStock)
A large part of sewage discharged into the sea across the UK goes undetected as monitors are faulty or not installed by water companies, according to the country’s third largest political party.
Liberal Democrats said the water companies could be guilty of gross negligence by failing to install functional sewage monitors along the coastline including at seaside resorts.
It said Britain’s seaside resorts were “being swamped by foul sewage” and blamed the government for it.
Citing Environment Agency data accessed through Freedom of Information requests, the party said 1,802 Event Duration Monitors (EDM) installed by water companies across the UK did not work for at least 90 per cent of the time. It also found that there were no monitors during 1,717 storm overflows.
An EDM is a device which measures the number and length of sewage dumps from storm overflows.
For example, no monitors have been installed at Long Rock in Cornwall, Littlehampton in West Sussex and Lee-on-the-Solent in Hampshire.
About a quarter of sewage discharge along the coastline was not monitored last year, the party said.
Liberal Democrats spokesperson Tim Farron MP called it a “national scandal”, saying the new figures “stink of a cover-up”.
Prime minister Boris Johnson’s father Stanley also blamed the government for the sewage problem.
“We have to blame the government for not pressing this matter as hard as it should have done,” he said on LBC radio.
However, water minister Steve Double said, “we are the first government to take action to tackle sewage overflows.”
“We have been clear that water companies’ reliance on overflows is unacceptable and they must significantly reduce how much sewage they discharge as a priority,” the minister said.
“This is on top of ambitious action we have already taken including consulting on targets to improve water quality which will act as a powerful tool to deliver cleaner water, pushing all water companies to go further and faster to fix overflows,” ITV quoted Double as saying.
The minister said work on tackling sewage overflows continued and a report would be published by the September 1 deadline.