Skip to main content

‘No time to lose’ to replace Wales’ sewerage system to prevent sewage discharges

24 April 2023

The Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee today argues for greater urgency from regulators and water companies to formulate a plan to replace Wales’ ageing combined sewerage system to prevent further, deeply damaging sewage discharges.

In a letter to the Minister for Climate Change at the Welsh Government, Committee Chair Stephen Crabb MP draws attention to evidence heard by the Committee over two evidence sessions with campaigners, water companies and Ofwat. Key issues of concern include the lack of accurate monitoring of the volume of discharges and the frequency of outflows, the number of ‘unpermitted’ sewage discharges and the low number of prosecutions in Wales to enforce better water quality.

The Committee is of the view that there is a lack of a clear and timely plan to make improvements and reduce the quantity of sewage being discharged.  

Chair's comment 

Welsh Affairs Committee Chair, Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, said:

“We are all too aware of the number of sewage discharge events taking place on a routine basis, thanks to increased media attention and the efforts of campaigners to shine a light on this unpleasant practice. This can be damaging to human health and wildlife alike and should be minimised in any nation committed to protecting our natural ecosystems.

“Wales’ sewerage system is old and under enormous pressure from increased rainfall: it needs to be made fit for purpose. Unfortunately, our Committee, from what we have heard in evidence sessions with those responsible, are not convinced that there is an urgent plan to make crucial infrastructure upgrades. 

“I have therefore today written to the Climate Change Minister at the Welsh Government to understand what steps are being taken to address these problems and protect Welsh rivers and coasts.”

Further information

Image: Pixabay