On Monday 14 March, the local Conservative MP for Chingford & Woodford Green voted against a new law that would have forced water companies to report on the number of animals killed by sewage dumps.
283 Conservative MPs voted against the plans including Iain Duncan Smith, versus 179 opposition MPs including Liberal Democrats who voted for.
The vote follows toxic substances known as “forever chemicals”, being detected in otters across England and Wales.
The Liberal Democrats tabled an amendment to the new Animal Sentients Bill which would have led to:
- Water companies forced to produce reports on the number of animals killed by toxic and sewage waste dumped in rivers.
- The Government being required to publish an annual report into the number of animals killed by poor water quality in rivers.
- The naming and shaming of water companies found to dump sewage in rivers which leads to animals being killed.
The Liberal Democrats have demanded an end to sewage dumping in rivers to prevent wildlife being killed and the environment being irreparably damaged.
It comes as figures reveal Thames Water made a staggering £488.8 million in operating profits last year. The figures, taken from Company House records, also show the water firm made £2,106 million in revenue.
Liberal Democrats have called for a ‘Sewage Tax’ on water companies to fund the cleaning up of rivers polluted by sewage dumps. Thames Water is reported by the Environment Agency to have discharged sewage 18,443 times in 2020.
Local Liberal Democrat campaigner Arran Angus commented on the vote:
“Our local Conservative MP has again refused to take action against water companies.
“People around here are furious at how badly Thames Water treats our local environment. It is outrageous to think wildlife in our local rivers is being poisoned by disgusting raw sewage.
“It is time these water companies stopped polluting our rivers and pay for the mess they have made.”
Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:
“Conservative MPs should hang their heads in shame. Yet again they have let water companies off the hook whilst our precious rivers are pumped full of raw sewage.
“Enough is enough, we need to name and shame water companies which are being found to destroy precious wildlife habitat. It is scandalous that animals are swimming in filth and seeing their habitats become sewage traps.
“This is a national scandal. Time and time again Conservative MPs refuse to take tough action on water companies. When will they finally listen to the public and do the right thing before our rivers are damaged beyond repair?”