Over the past few weeks, I have been receiving several emails from my constituents regarding the Environment Bill.
My constituents have been led to believe that I have voted to dump sewage in our rivers. As few media outlets have given out this generic misinformation, along with the opposition and pressure groups, I am not surprised that I have received emails from constituents concerned that their MP has voted for something like this. In this time of confusion and misinformation, it is my duty towards my constituents to provide clarity.
Firstly, I am proud to have voted for the Environment Bill, which is now the Environment Act 2021; this bill allows our country to enshrine better environmental protection into law. Additionally, my efforts to save our green belt in my constituency are on public record.
Amendments being proposed to bills are of often occurrence. The Lords Amendment (45) brought forward by Duke of Wellington was well intentioned but poorly formed and drafted. If this amendment would have received support, the taxpayer would have faced an unprecedented bill to pay. Moreover, this amendment would not have served its intended purpose due to its impracticalities.
The amendment would put a duty on sewerage undertakers to take all reasonable steps to ensure untreated sewage is not discharged from storm overflows. The amendment further stated that a sewerage undertaker must demonstrate improvements in the sewerage systems and progressive reductions in the harm caused by untreated sewage discharges. These statements weren’t backed by any practical solution on how sewerage undertakers would adhere to this duty.
Initial assessments suggest, that in order to eliminate our Victorian-era sewage system, the cost would be anywhere from £150 Billion to £600 Billion. The Research Briefing of March 2022, states that Government spending on measures in response to Covid-19 pandemic cost between £310 Billion to £410 Billion. This is the equivalent of about £4,600 to £6,100 per person in the UK. Put this into context, one would question who would foot the bill for £600 Billion.
What some media outlets, pressure groups and the opposition failed to tell you is that the Government has moved considerably on this issue.
Please see the link below for further information:
Untreated sewage can be devastating to human health, local biodiversity and our environment. Water companies must take urgent action to address sewage discharges. That’s why we are already taking action.
I want to conclude by quoting American author DaShanne Stokes “Lies, misinformation, and conspiracy theories are not free speech. They are fraud and propaganda."