Sewage: Waste Disposal

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 13 November 2023.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will introduce legislation to require water companies to report annually on the number of animals killed as a result of raw sewage discharges.

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

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

We do not have plans to introduce legislation that will require this of water companies. However, this Government is clear that the volume of sewage being discharged into our waters is unacceptable. That is why our Plan for Water sets out more investment, stronger regulation and tougher enforcement to tackle pollution and clean up our water.

Alongside this, our Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan sets clear and specific targets for water companies, regulators and the Government, to work towards the long-term ambition of eliminating ecological harm from storm overflows. This will protect biodiversity at both a local and national scale.

We have also set a world-leading, legally binding target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030. This target will drive wide-ranging actions to deliver nature recovery.

We know that to meet our targets we will need large-scale habitat restoration, creation and improved connectivity; to tackle pressures on species including pollution, unsustainable use of resources and climate change; and targeted action to recover specific species.

Action to restore or create freshwater habitats will support species in our indicator that live in and rely on lakes and rivers such as kingfishers, silver bream, perch, and minnow.

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