November 8, 2021 3.53 pm This story is over 24 months old

Water companies must “do more” to prevent sewage spills, say local paddleboarders

Pollution alerts and flood warnings are rising

A group of local paddleboarders have called on water companies to “do more” against sewage spills into beds of water, after they reported visible waste in the sea at Cleethorpes.

Water companies are currently legally allowed to discharge sewage into the sea during times of heavy rainfall and flood risks, but as an increased awareness surrounds the changing climate, people are calling for action against this type of behaviour.

There have been 21 pollution alerts in Cleethorpes so far this year, and a further 16 down the coast in Humberston, an increase from last year’s figures.

It comes as a study from The Rivers Trust found that there were almost 2,000 sewage spills in rivers across Greater Lincolnshire in 2020 alone, for a cumulative time period of 786 days.

A recent parliamentary vote saw a proposed amendment to the Environmental Bill, which would place harsher legal sanctions on water companies for discharging sewage into rivers and seas, was rejected by MPs.

Read: Lincoln MP Karl McCartney: “I did not vote to allow raw sewage to pollute rivers and wildlife”

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, who was among the 265 MPs to vote against the sanctions, said that it was important to “put the record straight” as he accused social media and press of sensationalised reporting.

He said: “It is a total nonsense to say I ‘voted to allow raw sewage to pollute our wildlife, our sports fields and our food’, which is what people have actually posted on social media over the last few days. If only they looked at the facts for themselves rather than idly retweet what they have been sent. 

“Given how much I care about the environment, as I have always supported the need to ensure the River Witham and Brayford Pool are cleaner, alongside my concern for animal welfare, this deliberate political scaremongering by those who created the recent campaign is pathetic.

“The statutory intent here could not be clearer and none of these measures are indicative of any plan to pump raw sewage into rivers!”