The Government has voted down an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have placed a legal duty on water companies to reduce their discharge of raw, untreated, sewage into rivers and the sea.
MPs debated the House of Lords amendment on Wednesday (20th October) after clean water campaigners urged the government to back what they say is a key amendment on sewage.
The environmental bill, which would govern environmental policy after Brexit, sought to “place a duty on water companies to ensure that untreated sewage is not discharged into rivers and other inland waters”.
Raw sewage was discharged into waters more than 400,000 times over a total of more than 3.1 million hours in 2020, and MPs have previously heard that sewage pollution is a key component of a ‘chemical cocktail’ of pollutants going into rivers.
Campaign group, Surfers Against Sewage pushed for the amendment to be accepted arguing that it is crucial that MPs amend the bill “to not only protect the ocean and natural environment but to also reverse decades of decline of ecosystems on land and at sea”.
22 Conservatives rebelled against the Government by voting for the amendment. Salisbury MP, John Glen, along with 265 Conservative MPs, voted down the Lords amendment.
Local residents have taken to social media to express their disappointment in this decision.
Jayne Woodhouse, a Salisbury Author and playwright Tweeted: “This is a #torymp who says on his website: ‘We can, and I believe we will, be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it.’ I’ve emailed to remind him”.
While Tracy Burge from Wylye Valley Tweeted, “So @JohnGlenUK voted for sewage in our beautiful 5 rivers, not an act of preservation for Salisbury. Let’s have another MP”.
Gerry O’Rourke Tweeted to say, “@JohnGlenUK Extremely disappointed that you voted against the Sewage amendment. The absence of an effective govt plan to tackle this shameful practice makes your decision worse. Many constituents like me will feel bewildered and let down by your decision”.
John Glen has been approached for comment.