UK’s Angling Trust: ‘Our rivers are dying before our eyes’
Water companies are continuing to show a ‘wanton disregard’ for rivers in the UK, according to data just released by the Environment Agency (EA).
Sewage was discharged from storm overflows 372,500 times in 2021, compared to 400,000 in 2020, while the average spill per overflow went from 33 in 2020 to 29 last year.
“When you account for the variables in the weather over the two years, this is in effect no change at all,” says anglers’ representative body, the Angling Trust, in a press release.
“These figures show that water companies continue to abuse our rivers,” said Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns at the Trust. “If they don’t scream for action to be taken now, then I’d like to know what does. Our rivers are dying before our eyes. We know the EA is currently investigating water companies for breaking the law, but we cannot wait for the years it takes for the Agency to decide whether to prosecute companies or not.
“This dire situation is the result of water companies simply being able to get away with it. We need more funding for the EA, more monitoring and more leadership to hold these companies to account.”
The figures were released on the same day the government launched its consultation on managing discharges from storm overflows.
“We call on water companies not to wait for the government to issue its final report on storm overflows in September this year, and not to simply meet the deadlines that will be set,” added Singleton-White. “That will not be enough. Water companies need to do a lot more, and they need to do it a lot faster.”