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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:17 pm on 12th March 2020.

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Stuart Colville:

Perhaps I could add two things. I agree with all that. First, on E. coli, that speaks to my earlier point that the legislation is aimed at ecological outcomes, not public health outcomes, which is why that issue is there. For me, there is the long-term question to address—probably through the target-setting process—of what we as a society and legislators feel about that.

The second point I would make is that one of the principal causes of spills of sewage into rivers at the moment is blockages, and the main cause of those is wet wipes congealed with fat, oil and grease within the sewerage network. One of the things we are calling for is for some of the producer responsibility powers in the Bill to be used to do something about that. We know it is an increasing problem. It costs £100 million a year and it is a direct cause of several pollution incidents we have seen across the country. That is why we hope this framework will at least address that element of the cause of what you describe.