Tag Archives: river

Is our water as polluted as we’re being led to believe?

Run-off: according to a Welsh Water representative, discharges into our rivers and the sea during storms are not nearly as dangerous as we’ve been led to believe.

Welsh Water have been having a conference about pollution at a venue here in Mid Wales, and one of that organisation’s representatives told me a very interesting snippet of information (in a pub, afterwards).

You’ll be aware that the Tory government passed a motion last year that allows water firms to discharge raw sewage into our waterways.

Well, this man said that while sewerage water is indeed discharged into the rivers during storms, it is always diluted to a point at which it is not considered harmful, under passes handed out by the Environment Agency.

And he suggested that this was validated when the Ironman Challenge tested the water at Tenby/Saundersfoot and said it was the cleanest they had found.

Whether this was true or not is hard for me to judge, though, because the man telling me all this turned out to be extremely gay and was trying (we think) to seduce me (even though I’m extremely not-gay). No, he didn’t get anywhere! In classic journalistic tradition, I made my excuses and left.

I checked the Ironman website and Saundersfoot didn’t seem to have anyone swimming through it; the bike ride went through there.

And even if it is clean, this is just one water company. What about all the others?

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Is this the reason our rivers and beaches are overflowing with sewage? [VIDEO]

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

An informative video clip from the Express? Will wonders never cease?

The big question is why nothing is being done about this.

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Raw sewage released into UK waterways increases by 2,553% over five years

Rivers of Sh*t: the amount of harmful crap being pumped into our rivers and seas has multiplied by 2,553 per cent.

A friend on the social media asked how private water companies could have pumped raw sewage into our seas and rivers for more than nine million hours since 2016 when that’s the equivalent of 1,076 years.

The answer, in fact, is quite simple: each company has many outflows into the UK’s waterways, and they have been pumping away industrially.

The amount of raw sewage going into our rivers and seas has increased by 2,553 per cent over the last five years.

No wonder the information had to be dragged out of the Environment Agency by the Labour Party, via the Freedom of Information Act!

I’m reminded of the advertising campaign for the movie Jaws 2, containing what may be horror’s greatest tagline:

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.”

Sadly, nobody has thought it was safe to go in the water since the government voted to allow the water companies to pump all their crap – literally – into UK waterways.

Who knew the threat wouldn’t come from a dangerous creature but from an industry that’s supposed to keep us safe?

Source: ‘It’s filthy and it stinks’: Huge increase in raw sewage released into waterways and sea, data reveals

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

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.

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Whitstable’s people are refusing to pay water bills over sewage crisis – will you?

Protest: people in Whitstable demonstrated against Southern Water’s pollution of the coastline in October.

How wonderful to see the exercise of people power!

Residents of Whitstable, in Kent, are refusing to pay their water bills until the local privatised water company stops discharging sewage into the sea.

It seems they have a very good reason to withhold their cash, as Kent Online has reported claims that people had become ill after swimming in nearby coastal waters.

Local councillor Ashley Clark explained his reasons for holding back the cash in a letter to the company dumping the sewage, Southern Water. He wrote:

Southern Water has continued to send my untreated sewerage – along with that of other local people – directly into the sea which I use on a daily basis to swim from April to October.

I find the thought of swimming in a mixture of local sewerage and seawater totally abhorrent and not something that I should be charged for.

If I paid someone to clear out my garage and take rubbish away to the tip but instead they fly-tipped it into the countryside I would be upset. Canterbury City Council prosecutes offenders for that type of activity.

Yet Southern Water continues to fly-tip sewage into my bathing water with impunity and spend my contributions on both director’s bonus payments and shareholder dividends rather than treating sewerage which hitherto I have paid for.

Accordingly, I will not be paying the £158.63 claimed by Southern Water until such time as I am satisfied that all my payment is being used for the intended purpose and I am compensated for the days on which I was advised not to swim in the sea.

Others have reported their own reasons for withholding payment.

Water companies cannot cut off residents’ water supply if they do not receive payment – they are legally prohibited from doing so, although they can take payment defaulters to court for payment.

But they may find the courts unsympathetic at the moment, because water firms are legally required not to dump untreated sewage in the UK’s waterways and on the coasts. People are justified in their anger – and they’re not saying they’ll never pay their bills.

It seems a good tactic – possibly the best, as it hits the water firms where they are most likely to pay attention: the bank account.

So the operative question is this: are you willing to do the same?

Source: Whitstable residents refuse to pay Southern Water bills until discharging sewage into sea ends

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Tory U-turn over ‘Rivers of Sh*t’ ‘doesn’t come close’ to what is needed

Minehead beach: you might be more sensible than to allow your child to play in the human waste that you see here – but other people clearly aren’t.

We all breathed a sigh of relief and rejoiced that we could once again smell the roses after the government announced its new plan to progressively force water companies to reduce the amount of sewage in our rivers and in the sea. Didn’t we?

No. Here’s our water quality correspondent, Feargal Sharkey:

He also had an answer to Tories like This Writer’s MP, Fay Jones, who claimed that the public would be forced to pay for improvements to the UK’s sewers:

Hear, hear!

On a side note, you have to agree with Omid on this, don’t you?

But what did the water bosses have to say about this?

They weren’t available to be interviewed, of course, because none of them live in the UK!

Our water companies are run by the governments of eight other nations: Singapore, Australia, Kuwait, Canada, Norway, UAE, Qatar and Malaysia.

That’s pretty close to it! Of course, the government has said that it will require the water companies to clean up their act (and our waterways) progressively but it is extremely unlikely that this will happen unless the Treasury provides some stimulus.

In the meantime, we have this:

And this:

Dead seagulls have already been spotted at Southend, I believe. This is one of the top beach resorts serving Londoners, remember.

Also this:

The worst part is that a family was letting their child paddle in the Minehead sewage. People really don’t know any better than not to play with the brown stuff. How many people will catch cholera before the government gets the message?

Well, the Tories wanted a workforce that was less educated than they were, and judging from Boris Johnson, that was setting the bar very low indeed.

At least the satirists have been sharpening their tools. Here’s a selection of their offerings – these are the tools we should use to remind the Tories of their big mistake:

This is particularly good from national treasure Pam Ayres:

And what has actually been done to stop the dissemination of sewage into our waterways, land, crops, food animals and dinner plates in the meantime?

Absolutely nothing.

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Tory ban on foreign mineral water means we must drink our own that is polluted with sewage

This is the plan by Boris ‘Rivers of Sh*t’ Johnson, isn’t it?

It certainly seems suspicious that, having ensured that so much water in the UK is undrinkable, the government should order that we cannot have bottled water from a foreign country, meaning that we can only drink the stuff they’ve filled with sewage.

And that is what has happened. The ban will be enforced from January 2022:

The decision was taken before the Lords forced the government to promise that it will force water companies to make a “progressive reduction” in the sewage it dumps in rivers, remember.

Ah, but now we have that promise, don’t we?

Yes, but it doesn’t mean much.

Remember Fay Jones, This Writer’s MP, who was caught banging on about the cost of improvements to the “Victorian sewerage system” earlier?

She said in the same tweet that the government was already working to reduce discharge from storm overflows. You can see that at the start of the clip below. The rest of it is worth watching too.

So the government had claimed that Brexit would make it possible to improve standards, and has gone back on that claim. And now mouthpieces like Ms Jones are saying water companies would pass costs on to customers if forced to maintain health standards.

Hmm…

My understanding, when the utilities were privatised back in the 1980s, was that they would be cheaper for the country’s taxpayers because they would use part of their profits to maintain health standards and there would be no extra cost to customers.

It seems to me that, with a government formed by the same party that was responsible for the privatisation now saying the opposite, this organisation may clearly be seen to have been duplicitous – either then or now. The Tories lied to us.

Here’s another clip explaining the current situation:

Yes, it also reflects badly on the water companies. But it seems to me that they are simply acting according to the conditions on which they were sold these going concerns. So the responsibility falls back onto the Tory government.

The rivers are full of human waste now. The ban on foreign mineral water starts in January. And the water companies certainly won’t bother to change their working practices significantly before it begins.

So I hope you’ve all got your water purifiers installed and in full working order.

And this means that, yes indeed, the chances of any future environmental action are slim – not just with regard to rivers, but also from any decisions made at the imminent COP26 climate conference, that is being run by the Conservatives.

They haven’t ensured our rivers will remain free of sewage; they won’t do much (if anything) to improve that situation; so we may conclude that they’ll do nothing to end the threat of climate change.

That’s a shame, because COP26 is being touted as our last chance to avoid climate armageddon. The fact that it is being hosted by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives heralds doom for the whole world.

That is not a joke or hyperbole.

Meanwhile, we have the current situation, as immortalised in satire…

… in images that should stay with us forever (but probably won’t)…

… and in profits for the water companies (together with the Tory Party that receives their donations):

The moral of the story?

Money talks to Tories, in a language they understand better than survival.

AFTERWORD: Following a query from fact-checking organisation Full Fact (over Facebook links to this article) I am happy to clarify that manufacturers of EU mineral water may continue to export it to the UK if they renew their accreditation under UK rules by January 7, 2022.

This information is available to readers of the article who click on the link to the government announcement, above, and then read the government letter. If this context is not clear, the fault lies with the Tory government for ignoring this fact in favour of propaganda promoting UK mineral waters.

But of course, this raises a further question. EU mineral water producers may certainly apply for UK accreditation, but why should they bother?

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

MPs complain of ‘hate’ after complaints over vote to fill rivers with raw sewage

What do you get if you allow raw sewage to be pumped into rivers, and those rivers then flood?

Cholera.

This Writer is therefore looking forward to the BBC’s Coast special on the cholera outbreak of 2022, after Tory MPs voted en masse to allow cost-cutting water companies to keep pumping sewage into our coastal rivers.

Constituents are – justifiably – complaining. And what do you think the Tories are doing?

They are hiding behind the murder of David Amess to claim that these concerned citizens are “spreading hatred” against them.

Here’s David TC Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, accusing a constituent of just that.  I provide the constituent’s complaint so you can see that there is no reason whatever for him to have claimed what he did:

Here’s a comment on it so you can see it’s not just me kicking up a fuss:

Yes, the conned can be that stupid – especially when they don’t even know what has happened:

Fortunately, the social media are seething…

…and Mr Davies’s lie about “spreading hatred” isn’t stopping people from outing their own MPs. Here’s just a smattering:

And you are encouraged to do the same:

Here’s a handy link to the full list of MPs who supported the raw sewage motion, to help you get started:

Oh – and if you’re thinking we’re all making a big deal out of nothing, think again. Here’s our river quality correspondent:

Sadly, due to the lack of reporting (hello, BBC?) most people probably still don’t know that their rivers and beaches are poisoned, and that their homes will be – after the annual floods hit next year.

Some people are advocating stronger measures than harsh words…

It’s not advisable, really. You don’t win an argument against spreading disease by spreading disease.

In the meantime…

If you’re near the coast, you’ll be getting it anyway.

Come to think of it, the Thames flows into the sea. It’ll probably start stinking soon.

I wonder if the Tories in the Palace of Westminster will even understand that the nasty smell that’s making their taxpayer-funded dinners taste so bad is a result of their own decision?

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Sink, Britain, Sink! – the cost of privatising water management

– This is a song by a local musician, here in Mid Wales, written during the last serious flooding. I make no apologies for opportunistically linking to it as it says a few choice words about the situation and the government.

“And the rains came down, and the floods came up” – The Wise Man and the Foolish Man (Southern Folk Song).

Some of you may have noticed we’ve had a few spots of wet weather recently. This is nothing new to our island nation.

The trouble is, having fallen on us all, the water hasn’t had the decency to clear off and drain away. Instead, it has built up and up and caused a huge amount of flood damage to land and houses that were not built in a safe place, as in the song lyric quoted above, but in flood plains.

This is a result of bad planning – by water and sewerage companies that have failed to implement successful drainage schemes or to divert floodwater from rivers in order to prevent overflow, and by planning authorities that have allowed housing to be built in the wrong place.

What were they thinking?

My guess is that the water companies were thinking about the money, and planning authorities wanted to ease overcrowding.

We live in a country where management of the water supply went into private hands several decades ago. When that happened, it became impossible to have any kind of integrated plan to deal with the supply of water, droughts, floods and storage. Water supply became a commodity to be bought and sold by rich people according to the golden rules of capitalism: Invest the minimum; charge the maximum.

So reservoirs have been sold off to foreign water companies, meaning we have no adequate response to droughts. None have been built, meaning we have no adequate response to floods. Concerns about river flooding have been neglected. There has not been the investment in extraction and storage of floodwater that repeated incidents over the last few years have demanded.

The government is reducing its budget for handling these issues. Not only that, but it is delaying implementation of a new policy on drainage.

This would be regulated by local authorities, who have responsibility for planning approvals. Some might say these authorities should have had a little more forethought before granting applications to build on flood plains, or for adaptations to existing properties that have prevented water from draining into the soil and sent it down drains instead, to overload the sewer system.

Some of these are matters of necessity: Planning officers may have gone to the limit of what is allowed, in order to allow housing developments that relieve the burden of overcrowding; in other matters, they may have been unable to apply any legal restrictions on applications.

In short, there is no joined-up thinking.

There will be no joined-up thinking in the future, either – unless the situation is changed radically.

Meanwhile, the cost racked up by the damage is huge – in ruined farmland, in ruined homes and possessions, and blighted lives. And what about the risk of disease that floodwater brings with it? The NHS in England is ill-equipped to deal with any outbreaks, being seriously weakened by the government-sponsored incursions of private, cheap-and-simple health firms.

Something has to give beneath the weight of all this floodwater. Change is vital – from commercial competition to co-operation and co-ordination.

Privatisation of water has failed. It’s time to bring it back under public control.

Is anyone opposed?

Support Vox Political before it sinks without trace!
The site needs YOUR help to continue.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook