Raw Sewage - beach pollution on your watch
I should be grateful for your response to my constituent's message below.
This is just one example of many messages I am receiving from constituents who are horrified by this revolting pollution of our beautiful beaches.
Our community in Brighton and Hove and other Sussex coastal communities are still recovering from the pandemic. Our beaches are at the heart of our community and economy, critical to our city's wellbeing.
Your system of privatised monopolies is utterly failing as this grim situation makes plain. This is scandalous, because it is not a recent problem that can be blamed on last month’s extreme heatwave. There is a deep structural problem. Privatisation has delivered profits, with billions in dividends to shareholders and grotesque bonuses for executives, while the rest of us get leaks, crumbling Victorian infrastructure and excrement in our seas.
The system you are presiding over and maintaining allows these privatised monopolies to get away with profiteering without delivering the very minimum. Meanwhile, their impotent regulator makes excuses for them and lets them get away with it.
Around only 10% of water company breaches are leading to prosecutions, and court actions against polluters fallen by 98% between 2002-2020. What steps are you taking to address these statistics? It is totally unacceptable that the Environment Agency is under-resourced and lacks the necessary powers to address these repeated scandals.
We must have the legal duty to force water companies to take immediate action on sewage pollution. As you will know, this is a legal duty the Government recently blocked during the passage of the Environment Act.
Ofwat must place an enforcement order on water companies to compel them to carry out the job they’re actually meant to do – at the very least, it should be sanctioning the pay of blundering CEOs.
And critically, it is time to bring the water utilities back into public hands. On any measure this is the sensible thing to do.
I should be grateful for your response to this letter.
Best wishes, Caroline