Here’s an angry public figure: Feargal Sharkey was the singer of The Undertones and The Assembly before having a career as a solo performer – and he is now an environmental campaigner against the pollution of British rivers. He knows his stuff.
104 days after been fined £90m for dumping sewage into the environment and less than 12 hours after Gov voted to protect water companies and not our rivers, @SouthernWater were dumping sewage at 60, yes 60, different locations along the south coast of England.#COP26 hypocrisy pic.twitter.com/y1KCVPYoTP
— Feargal Sharkey (@Feargal_Sharkey) October 21, 2021
Here’s what made the dumping possible:
The Tories just voted AGAINST an amendment to stop water companies dumping RAW SEWAGE into rivers https://t.co/7dgo1UXUJK
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) October 22, 2021
The Tory government had previously given polluters the green light to dump risky sewage that has not been properly cleaned into rivers and the sea, after it turned out that Brexit had closed the UK’s borders to chemicals that are used to treat effluent.
The Environment Agency said companies struggling to get hold of the chemicals would be allowed to “discharge effluent without meeting the conditions” of their permits, which normally require water to be treated by a multi-step process.
Companies should “resume use of chemicals to treat effluent as soon as is practicable”, the agency said.
But now it seems the government has reneged on this demand. According to Evolve Politics,
Lords Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.“
Treating raw sewage costs money – and many have speculated that privatised water companies are simply dumping it into our waterways in order to make bigger profits.
Despite the horrendous environmental impact of the disgusting practice, shortly before the vote, the Conservative Environment Secretary George Eustace recommended to his fellow MPs that they should reject it.
And, owing largely to the government’s 80 seat majority, the amendment was indeed defeated – by a margin of 268 MPs to 204.
You can see how your MP voted on the amendment here.
There has been a lot of speculation about the Tories’ reasons for blocking the amendment. For example:
I think this is an instance of "Party first; constituents never" 😥
Until we have MPs supporting the people who voted for them, as opposed to 'party politics' (irrespective of which party!!) we will never have a true representation in government.
AKA: our system is fucked! 😱
— 💙The Book Rest💙 (@TheBookRest) October 22, 2021
Others have suggested the possibility that MPs have shares in the polluting companies and hope to make a fortune on the cash saved by not cleaning the water before dumping it.
Whatever the reason, the optics (as they are known) are terrible, right before the big COP26 climate change summit.
Boris Johnson is on record as having said he wants the UK to be the “cleanest, greenest” country; instead, he’s sending his lieutenant, Alok Sharma, to host the climate conference in one of the world’s major water polluters.
If either of them try to claim the moral high ground on the environment, the hypocrisy will sink them – hopefully, beneath a wave of their own effluent.
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