Cleaner bathing waters for Lyme Regis and the UK?


YOU may have read previous articles here about the terrible state of our bathing waters in Lyme (and the UK generally), caused by routine dumping of millions of tonnes of raw sewage into our seas and rivers by the water companies, whose primary objective should be to clean up and process our sewage!

We asked you to email your local MP to tell them this was unacceptable. Some of you have been emailing MPs through the Safer Seas Service app that alerts you to when bathing waters near you are compromised by sewage discharges.

Well good news! The government has formed the Storm Overflow Taskforce – catchy title, I know!

The storm water outflows allow water companies to dump sewage untreated and without any obligation to report it happening.

Recently, the taskforce announced their goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows and set out their first steps on this journey.

There are some big wins for ocean lovers and water users which incredibly are only now invoked. These include:

  1. Water companies will make real-time data on sewage discharges available at bathing sites all year round.
  2. Water companies will have to publish on their website how many times they have dumped raw sewage into the sea or rivers each year.

We will be able to more easily hold water companies to account for the damage they are causing to our environment and track their progress in improving.

It’s a great first step, in the right direction, but in terms of what is required to protect our rivers and seas, it’s just a tiny drop.

Pressure must continue to be put on the government and water companies to improve protection to us and our environment.

The Environment Bill has been postponed yet again, which was launched in 2018! This has an enormous impact as the delay will make it harder for the government to hit targets to improve water, air, reduce waste and protect wildlife.

  • We want an Environment Bill that exceeds existing EU water quality standards.
  • We need sewage legislation that sets ambitious and legally binding targets to end all untreated sewage discharges in all bathing waters and rivers by 2030.
  • We need investment from water companies in their infrastructure to reflect the increased population of the UK & its greater popularity as a holiday destination.

The chief executive of South West Water earned just under £2.2million in 2019/20, and the finance officer £1.67million. They made £174million profit before tax.

Perhaps if they invested in what they are paid by their customers to do, they wouldn’t have lost 84 million litres of drinking water per day and admitted to 297 ‘pollution incidences’. 

Please help us hold them to account and stop dumping sewage, continue to write to your MP, your local water company and the Environment Agency.

Grenville Barr
Chair, Plastic-Free Lyme

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