Stop water companies dumping sewage in our rivers and coastal waters

by Good Law Project

Stop water companies dumping sewage in our rivers and coastal waters

by Good Law Project
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Latest: Nov. 25, 2022

Marine Conservation Society joins our legal action to stop sewage dumping

We are delighted that the Marine Conservation Society has now joined as a co-claimant on our legal case to protect our coastal waters from sewage dumping. 

Marine Conservation Society is at the f…

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A deluge of untreated sewage is being dumped by water companies into our rivers and along our coastlines, but the Government is failing to act. 

Around 14,500 storm overflows are in operation across England to keep sewers from becoming overwhelmed. But as our Victorian-era sewers are pushed to their capacity, sewage is increasingly being discharged by water companies into our rivers coastal waters and other waterways. 

This should only happen in an emergency, but it is becoming a routine practice for water companies. Last year alone, there were a whopping 372,533 sewage spills, over a period of 2.7 million hours. 

This is one of the biggest environmental scandals of our times. But the Government is failing to put a stop to it. 

We need urgent action to protect our precious and biodiverse ecosystems and to safeguard everyone’s right to safely enjoy our beaches and waterways for generations to come. 

In August, the Government published its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan. But this gives water company bosses until 2050 to improve all of England’s storm overflows to eliminate or reduce mass-scale sewage discharges. 

Good Law Project believes that the Government’s lack of urgency is not only dangerous, it is also unlawful on a number of grounds.

This is why we are joining forces with Richard Haward’s Oysters and surfer and campaigner, Hugo Tagholm, to compel the Government to rewrite its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan to impose much tighter deadlines on water companies to clean up their act. We are also in discussions with other potential claimants, who may be added to the claim later.

It is also crucial that the Government and water companies fix the problem of sewage dumping with solutions that work in harmony with our natural environment.

Good Law Project recently forced the Government to go back to the drawing board on their threadbare Net Zero strategy. 

We hope that we can do the same with this case, but we need your help. If you are able to, please consider donating to our fight for our rivers, waterways and beaches.

You can read our Pre-Action Protocol  letter to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, here.

Details
Good Law Project has instructed Good Law Practice, Marc Willers KC of Garden Court Chambers and Peter Lockley of 11KBW in this case.

As well as paying our legal fees, ten percent of the sums raised will go to Good Law Project so that we can continue to use the law for a better world. It is our policy to only raise sums that we reasonably anticipate could be spent on this litigation. If for some reason we don’t spend all the money raised on this case, for instance if the Government backs down or we win, the donations will go towards supporting other litigation we bring.

Update 1

Good Law Project

Nov. 25, 2022

Marine Conservation Society joins our legal action to stop sewage dumping

We are delighted that the Marine Conservation Society has now joined as a co-claimant on our legal case to protect our coastal waters from sewage dumping. 

Marine Conservation Society is at the forefront of tackling the ocean emergency and standing up for coastal communities impacted by climate change and pollution. 

Sewage spills from storm overflows are threatening human health, biodiverse marine life and the fishing industry. We believe that taking legal action now is vital to ensuring English seas are safeguarded for generations to come. 

This is why Good Law Project is supporting Marine Conservation Society and co-claimants, Richard Haward's Oysters and surfer and activist, Hugo Tagholm, as they take this case forward to compel the Government to rewrite its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan

In its current form, the Government’s plan gives water companies until 2050 to take action on sewage discharges from storm overflows. But we believe that allowing this environmental vandalism to continue for decades to come is dangerous and unlawful. 

The scope of the plan also fails to include the hundreds of coastal and estuarine storm overflows responsible for polluting our seas and shorelines.  

The claim has now been filed and the next step is to take this issue to the courts to compel the Government to impose much tougher deadlines on water companies and expand its plan to specifically address sewage spillages into coastal waters. 

You can read our Statement of Facts and Grounds in full here



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