Category Archives: Rivers

Is this really what the Tories call URGENT action to curb river pollution?

Boris Johnson’s Britain: “one of the most effluent nations in the world” as Dr Louise Raw put it when she tweeted this image.

How can the Tory government claim to be taking “urgent” action to curb river pollution when its targets are 13 and 28 years away?

Are we all expected to put up with being hip-deep in human waste in the meantime?

According to Environment Secretary George “Useless” Eustice, he’s taking “urgent” action to cut the “most damaging” overflows into rivers and the sea by 75 per cent – by 2035, with all discharges cut by 80 per cent by 2050.

If that’s “urgent” action, I’d hate to think what “Useless” describes as inconsequential!

Eustice said the government was investing £7 billion until 2025 to upgrade sewage infrastructure but admitted water bills will rise by about £12 a year to cover costs beyond that.

Didn’t the Thatcher Tory government of the 1980s, in its push to privatise water, say that bills would be cheaper and private firms would upgrade infrastructure using their profits? Yes, it did.

So why are we paying for it, in money provided by the government and directly through our own bills?

Some background: last autumn, the Tory government gave 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 Conservatives followed this up by defeating Lords Amendment 45 to the then Environment Bill, which 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.

One Conservative, This Writer’s MP Fay Jones, said the amendment would have forced taxpayers to stump up £600 billion to “dig up” and modernise the UK’s sewer system, that has remained unchanged since Victorian times (apparently).

She then blocked responses that requested a breakdown of the figures. Considering her party is now saying £7 billion will cover the work, with an increase in bills to fund further costs, I think it’s fair to say that she overinflated the figures somewhat.

Mind you, she’s not the only one who seems to have – inadvertently? – misled the public. On October 25 last year, The Big Issue published a tweet, and an article, reporting that the water companies were saying they did not know how much sewage they were dumping into England’s rivers because the technology did not exist to monitor it.

But new data released on Thursday showed that in 2021, there were more than 372,000 spill events from from storm overflows, which release untreated sewage and rainwater into the environment to ease pressure on the system.

The Environment Agency said it has made water companies fit monitors to their storm overflows in order to capture information on how they are performing. 2021 was the second year the organisation published figures so it seems the firms were being economical with the facts.

And the facts are that we are being forced to live in our own effluent – along with muck imported from the Netherlands, due to EU restrictions on what can be dumped there – while water companies that are mostly owned by foreign governments coin it in.

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Sign the petition to make water companies pay YOU if they dump untreated sewage

State-approved sewage: but if the water companies are dumping untreated sewage, then they’re not fulfilling their contract with their clients – the public – and they owe us a refund.

Here’s a very good point:

We pay for the water company to take away surface-foul water to be treated at local sewage works.

This amounts to around 45-50% of our annual bill.

If the companies dump that waste water into the river or sea, without treatment, they are ripping us off.

Water companies have dumped sewage into rivers or the sea for years. Even in the height of summer during periods of low rainfall.

It is more profitable for them to occasionally sluice the sewage, when they think they can get away with it, rather than treating it.

If they were not just fined for any illegal dumping but forced to refund for treatment they haven’t done, it may make them a little more hesitant to carry on this disgusting practice.

That is the object of a new petition on the UK Parliament website: as water companies aren’t treating sewage – despite being contractually obliged to do so – then they owe their clients a hefty refund.

This is something that seems to have passed by the Tory government when it offered the privatised water companies a free pass from treating sewage on the grounds that they couldn’t get the chemicals from the European Union.

But the logic is clear. If they’re not buying and using the chemicals, then they don’t need the half of our water bills that is supposed to pay for it.

And the UK’s Tory government should make sure we get our money back. Right?

If you agree, sign the petition.

You can find it here: Require Water Companies to Refund Customers When They Dump Sewage – Petitions

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Here’s how you can defend your local river. Or do you LIKE swimming in sewage?

Rivers of Shit: under Boris Johnson’s Conservative leadership, this could be happening to all the rivers near you – indefinitely. Are you really willing to accept that?

Will YOU defend your local rivers from being engulfed in an ever-increasing tide of sewage dumped by the privatised water companies who simply don’t want to clean it?

Are are you just the kind of person who complains from an armchair but is scared to put your head above the parapet when push comes to shove?

If you’re a Vox Political reader, This Writer reckons you’re probably brave enough to take action – and it’s needed now.

Today (Monday, November 8), the government under Boris ‘Rivers of Sh*t’ Johnson is planning to reverse a Lords amendment to its Environment Bill in the latest instalment in a game of Parliamentary ping-pong (and I do mean pong) between the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament.

The Lords want to force water companies to “take all reasonable steps to ensure untreated sewage is not discharged from storm overflows”.

But Boris Johnson’s cheapjacks say it is too expensive – the cost could reach £150 billion, meaning an increase of thousands of pounds on our water bills.

The counter-argument is that private concerns were only allowed to take control of our water and sewage system on the understanding that they would use some of their profits to invest in improvements to the system. If that hasn’t happened, then it’s up to the water firms to find the money now – not us.

Now I’m going to hand you over to our rivers correspondent who will explain how you can help:

Personally, I’d use https://www.writetothem.com/ but the choice is yours.

Will you act?

Or do you want this to happen to your nearest river – indefinitely?

The choice is yours.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Get your cholera jab booked; MPs won’t stop pumping raw sewage into our waters

Boris Johnson’s Britain: “one of the most effluent nations in the world” as Dr Louise Raw put it when she tweeted this image.

Here’s an MP who doesn’t know when to keep quiet – This Writer’s MP, as it happens (although I didn’t vote for her):

Fay Jones didn’t vote to defeat the Lords’ amendment to the Environment Bill and allow water companies to continue dumping raw sewage into the UK’s waterways. I don’t know the reason.

She could have distanced herself from a decision that means raw sewage will be pumped into waterways across the UK – not just on the coast…

… but instead she has tried to justify the decision with a false argument – about money.

Firstly, taxpayers would not fund the cost of digging up the Victorian sewerage system – the cost would be paid by the government, which may then decide to tax us in order to prevent that expenditure from pushing up inflation; that is how taxation works in the UK. The current tax system puts too much of the burden onto the poor, but that’s what happens when you vote for a Tory government.

Secondly, the cost of digging up the Victorian sewerage system should be borne by the privatised water companies, if it is necessary. Their shareholders bought these companies from the then-UK government (Conservative) on the understanding that they would fund improvements from their own budgets – not demand handouts from the government while paying huge profits to themselves.

Thirdly, where did Ms Jones dig up this £600 billion figure? Our river quality correspondent has asked her…

… but it seems Ms Jones is more interested in blocking people who make such inquiries:

Oh, and Ms Jones’s claim that the government is already reducing discharge from storm overflows seems to be contradicted by much of the evidence we’re seeing:

At the end of the day, I’m finding Mitch Benn’s theory quite compelling:

There is a cholera vaccine available in the UK.

Be careful not to overstretch the NHS when you demand it!

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook