Tackling river and water pollution continues to be one of my top priorities as a Member of Parliament. I recently met Northumbrian Water to discuss the concerns of constituents on issues of water-use. I also wrote to the Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water to ask what steps are being taken to ensure against instances of overflow and sewage pollution in the Ouseburn. I was reassured to hear that a team had been dispatched to a local outflow and no operational issues were found.
I supported amendment 200 to the Environment Bill, which looked to properly regulate waterway pollution by water and other companies. I am pleased the House of Lords voted to amend the Environment Bill to place a duty on water companies to take every reasonable step to prevent sewage discharge. These necessary changes were defeated by Conservative MPs in the Commons.
The Conservatives put forward a compromise amendment which places an additional duty on water companies to progressively reduce harm from storm overflows. I echo pollution action campaigners and Labour colleagues in expressing dissatisfaction with this less stringent provision. I voted against the Government’s attempt to let polluters off the hook.