News

We brought the #EndSewagePollution petition to Parliament: here’s what happened

We brought the #EndSewagePollution petition to Parliament: here’s what happened

Last week, we helped Surfers Against Sewage to deliver 44,691 signatures to Parliament—all calling for an end to sewage pollution. We feel completely and utterly overwhelmed by the support the #EndSewagePollution petition received—and we couldn’t be prouder of all those who signed.

Our Director of Partnerships and Communications, Christine Colvin, attended a call to hand the petition over to George Eustice, Secretary of State for the Environment. Other members of the #EndSewagePollution coalition were also in attendance, including British Canoeing and Wildlife & Countryside Link. You can view the petition handover below.

Alongside the coalition, we called for enhanced water quality testing; nature-based solutions to pollution; increased investment in the restoration of natural habitats, reducing pressure on water systems; accurate, real-time water quality updates; and more. You can find out more about our asks on the Surfers Against Sewage website.

We heard how the government has now created a task force dedicated to addressing the issue of sewage pollution. They are investigating potential changes to planning legislation which could prevent the connection of surface water drainage to sewer networks, and are also looking to introduce agricultural policy which addresses run off into rivers and coastal waters. We also heard that the government are interested in the Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill—a Bill we and other members of the coalition strongly support.

We at The Rivers Trust hope that these plans are backed up with decisive action to improve the state of our rivers and coastal waters. It’s fantastic to see that a frank discussion about sewage pollution is starting to take place—and we hope this will be the start of real change. Our Chief Exec, Mark Lloyd, said:

Rivers are being polluted by sewage and agricultural pollution hundreds of thousands of times annually, putting open water swimmers and recreational water users at risk, and degrading ecosystems. We know only 14% of rivers are at good ecological status and many have been declining in quality over recent years. It is vital we act now, by demanding that our government enforces existing legislation, tightens the loopholes, and allows the necessary investment to manage sewage and other pollutants far better. Protecting and improving our waterways is imperative for people, wildlife and the economy.”

If you didn’t get the chance to sign, or if you did sign but want to do more, it’s really simple to make your voice heard. Alongside Surfers Against Sewage, we have created an online platform which auto-generates an email based on your postcode, asking your local MP to stand up for Sewage Bill in Parliament. This Bill could help to secure clean rivers and beaches for us all to enjoy—and it couldn’t come at a more crucial time for our environment.

Related projects