Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has voted to take significant action to reduce and prevent sewage discharge in the Government's new Environment Bill.
He said: “For the first time, we will take large-scale and consistent action to clean-up our rivers and beaches thanks to the ground-breaking Environment Bill going through Parliament.
“When this becomes law, it will have a profound and positive impact on our environment and the natural world.”
The Bill returned to the House of Commons yesterday (8 November) where amendments were debated and voted on.
Seely said: “By 2025 we will see water companies invest £7.1bn in environmental improvements in England, including £3.1 billion on storm overflow improvements alone.
“This new law will force water companies to significantly reduce the frequency and volume of storm overflows making Isle of Wight waters cleaner. Government will also have powers to order water companies to act if they don’t move fast enough.
“This Bill means that Government will deliver a statutory plan to reduce discharges from storm overflows and the harm this causes by September 2022 and report to Parliament on progress. Labour talk about this but did nothing when they were in power. Pollution in rivers and on our beaches got worse and worse. The Conservatives are now taking action to clean up our environment and we can go further and faster - precisely because of Brexit - and have higher standards than the EU.
“There will now be a duty on water firms to deliver plans explaining how they’ll manage and develop their drains and sewers.
“The Government will also report on actions needed to eliminate discharges from storm overflows in England entirely, and costs and benefits of actions.
“It has also set up the Storm Overflows Task Force bringing water firms, environmental NGOs, regulators, and Government together to progress sewage discharges work.
“There’s also a new duty on water companies and the Environment Agency to publish information on storm overflow operations and monitor water quality up and downstream of storm overflows and sewage works.”
Mr Seely voted in favour of the Government’s amendment to place a legal duty on water companies to reduce the adverse impact of discharges from storm overflows.
“I, and others, spoke with Environment Minister Rebecca Pow to make sure she was aware of concerns over sewage and overflow discharge. She listened, and the Bill has been strengthened."
In agreeing changes to the proposed Bill, the Government has prioritised the clean-up of waters in high amenity and ecologically sensitive areas.
“I am pleased that high amenity and ecologically sensitive areas will be prioritised. This clearly includes the Island. I am writing to Southern Water to ensure the Island will be prioritised. Our water needs to be clean: for Islanders, for visitors, for the environment."