Philip Dunne – 2021 Comment on Sewage Discharges

The comments made by Philip Dunne, the Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, on 29 March 2021.

I introduced my Private Members Bill to help tackle the scourge of sewage discharges polluting our waterways. Due to the impact of the pandemic on the Parliamentary timetable, I have been working to encourage the Government to adopt the key principles of my Bill.

I am delighted that the Environment Minister has honoured her pledge to seek a legislative route to give effect to the main objectives: from the Government updating Parliament on the progress it is making in reducing sewage discharges, to placing a duty on water companies to publish storm overflow data.

Today’s commitment by the Government means all the hard work with campaigners and colleagues in Parliament over the past year is not wasted and we shall work in the next session to find the best route to turn this into statute.

The Environmental Audit Committee is also holding an inquiry at present into measures to improve the water quality of our rivers, so I am also looking forward to the recommendations which emerge being able to inform the next stage of the Government’s work to improve water quality.