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EAC Chair: Overflow spills data reveals extent of England’s sewage problem

27 March 2024

The Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee has commented on today’s release of storm overflow spill data from the Environment Agency.

Chair's comment

Environmental Audit Committee Chair Philip Dunne MP said:

“This dataset presents the clearest picture yet of the true extent of the problem around sewer overflows across England.

That recorded sewage spills increased by more than half in 2023, compared to the previous year, demonstrates that there is still a great deal of work to be done to control these discharges. This problem has clearly been exacerbated by last year’s record rainfall following a record dry year.

Next, we need to know what impact these discharges are having on the waterways into which these sewage spills flow; that is what the next phase of monitoring ought to reveal.

The Environment Agency’s continued monitoring will play an important role in helping water companies identify where the worst impacts occur, and how they can best target the £96 billion they have pledged to invest in improvements in response to the Government's Plan for Water and Sewage Discharge Action Plan.

The Committee will be hearing from the Environment Agency in the coming weeks, and we intend to take further evidence on this issue later in the year. I look forward to hearing more from the environmental and the economic regulators of water companies, and from the water industry, on the contribution each make towards returning the country’s precious waterways to the condition that river users and bill payers rightly expect.”

Further information

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