Thousands of alerts over sewage dumping into waterways were issued last year as incidents up by 87%
Incidents of sewage dumping into rivers and seas by water companies rose by 87 per cent last year – an increase branded ‘shocking and outrageous’ by campaigners.
In all, the companies issued more than 5,500 alerts of sewage being discharged last year, up on 2,941 the previous year.
One in six days of the official bathing season were rendered ‘unswimmable’ due to sewage near beaches and other coastal spots, the report from the environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage said.
The bathing season is when designated beaches and lakes are monitored during the summer months by the Environment Agency for water quality standards.
A wing surfer enjoys the strong winds as they surf in the sea off of Hayling Island in Hampshire
Hugo Tagholm, of Surfers Against Sewage, said: ‘The findings of our report are shocking and outrageous, but they are by no means unexpected.
‘Time and time again, governments have claimed concern over the pollution of rivers and seas. Loopholes in laws and systematically defunded regulators have left water companies to run amok.’
He added: ‘We need water companies to clean up their act and commit to a decade of change to ensure our rivers and coastlines are thriving again.’
Last month, the Government pledged to enshrine in law a duty ‘to ensure water companies secure a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows’ – after 22 Conservative MPs rebelled over an amendment that made such reductions voluntary.
Surfers Against Sewage uses notifications of sewage discharges by water companies to issue real-time alerts to warn swimmers, surfers, paddleboarders and kayakers.