Anna Stevenson and Gareth Wright by the River Cam
Anna Stevenson and Gareth Wright by the River Cam

Last week the six Conservative MPs in Cambridgeshire, including Lucy Frazer MP for SE Cambs, voted against requiring water companies to stop dumping sewage in our waterways.

Gareth Wright and Anna Stevenson, Executive members of SE Cambs Labour have written to Lucy Frazer asking what possible benefit there is in continuing to dump untreated sewage into our local rivers.

Anna Stevenson said “On our regular Waterbeach ward walk this weekend, we spoke to local people who are concerned about the state of our local river. The Cam flows right past Waterbeach. It is an important part of the natural environment and it is time it was properly protected in law”

Gareth Wright added “As a health professional, I am particularly worried about the health consequences of dirty water. Disease from river pollution is something we associate with third-world countries. It makes me angry that we are risking the same dangers here.”

The open letter to Lucy Frazer is as follows

 

Dear Lucy Frazer

This weekend we’ve been contacted by many local residents who simply cannot understand why you voted down the Amendment to the Environment Bill that aims to outlaw dumping of raw sewage into our rivers.

The Lords amendment sought to impose a duty on water companies to “take all reasonable steps to ensure untreated sewage is not discharged from storm overflows”.

This amendment was introduced by a Cross-bencher and sponsored by peers sitting on the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem benches.

Across England there was a 37% increase in sewage discharges last year. It’s clear that current regulation isn’t working.

It seems as if Water Companies are using waterways and rivers as a cheap way to dump effluent and sewage.

According to legend, when Queen Victoria visited Cambridge early in her reign, she asked, “What are those pieces of paper floating in the river?” Rather than saying they were book and newspaper pages used as toilet paper, the tactful answer was, “Those Ma’am are notices that bathing is forbidden!”.

We do not want a return to Victorian times when rivers were health hazard. Yet there are already worrying reports about severe infections caught by rowers and swimmers in the Cam.

Please explain to your constituents what possible benefit there is in continuing to dump increasing amounts of untreated sewage into our rivers. We can’t think of a reason. Perhaps you can enlighten us?

Kind regards

Anna Stevenson and Gareth Wright

South East Cambs Labour Executive Committee

References

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/31/water-firms-discharged-raw-sewage-into-english-waters-400000-times-last-year

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/puntseq-researchers-share-river-cam-20438051 

https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2593/stages/15657/amendments/88348 

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2021-09-13b.1207.1

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