Water Quality

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 10th March 2022.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

What steps he is taking to improve water quality.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are the first Government to set out our expectation that water companies must reduce storm sewage overflows, and our Environment Act includes a raft of powers to support that expectation. We have almost doubled the funding available for our catchment farming advisers and have taken action to ban microbeads and microplastics in personal care products. We are currently seeking views on further actions we could take in relation to wet wipes, and will shortly be setting targets under the Environment Act to further improve water quality and drive action in the coming years.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

The Secretary of State and his team are a very nice bunch of people, and we have heard a lot of warm words this morning, but what my constituents want is action on clean water. My constituents want clean air and clean water. I spoke to Thames Water yesterday. Leading academics from the University of Reading tell us that the cuts to the Environment Agency mean that the agency is no longer measuring how much pollution is in our rivers. That is a shameful fact. Not one river in our country is safe to swim in—that is the truth. What is the Minister going to do about it?

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Action is happening on this side of the House, and if the hon. Gentleman followed it, he would know exactly how much we are doing. Through our Environment Act, we have taken a game-changing move to cut down on the harm caused by storm sewage overflows. Your party, in fairness, never did any of these things. I have inherited—.