Poisoned Rivers- isn’t this a party irrespective issue?

By Daviemoo

British conservation has been a huge passion for people, party irrespective, my entire life. My parents were always very keen on nature and it’s conservation and are traditionally conservative voters- along with many of their associates and friends, who have been rocked by the tories decision to vote, en masse for the dumping of raw sewage into our water.

Many conservative MPs spent the weekend falsely conflating the questioning of the efficiency of allowing human offal into our waters as abuse, some politicians going as far as claiming a polite question was intolerable hate speech and questioning the labour party as to the “tactics” of its “activists”- the same tory MP who had, in 2019, written an article about the dangers of allowing increasingly dirty water runoff to enter our water table…

One could believe that many conservatives were whipped to vote for this legislation, though we can see from other responses that, actually, they just don’t have any idea how to solve the problem.

Another MP wrote a “factual debunking” of “activist’s points” online which only served to draw more ire- highlighting that just the consultation period of how to handle the increased dumping of raw sewage, would take a year with absolutely no timeline provided as to how long it would take to actively address the problem. It was also declared that the problems with our water efficiency were caused by “victorian water channels” which would cost “millions” of taxpayer money to fix, and that the problem is “only temporary whilst a better solution is found”.

Since 1950 the tories have been in charge for 47 years, labour 24. Population density has been on a steady increase especially after the second world war, including the eponymous years of the baby boomers- so one would assume that if our plumbing was to become an issue, it may have been highlighted as such within these years and dealt with in a more manageable manner than suddenly deciding that we must dump waste into our rivers.

Additionally the piece gave out some patently false information that floodwaters may cause backwash and human faeces to rise into people’s homes- this, as several infrastructural engineers pointed out to the MP who so brazenly made the claims, is false- british plumbing is such that only an absolutely catastrophic failure would allow waste to re-enter a person’s home, there are many stopgaps in place to prevent this.

Rightly the tories who voted to endanger our health – demonstrably- with this decision, have been called out on twitter- with many of them leaping to defend themselves or smear those who point the finger of blame at their vote.

As global warming increases flood risks which Britain is, as always, woefully underprepared for, raw human sewage and high flood plains create a sustained risk of outbreaks of cholera (or, for all we know- worse. After all, coronavirus is known to use human faeces as a vector for transmission).

It seems to be growing clearer and clearer that British governments in general are desperately unprepared for a changing world. Rather than spending years looking forward, with reports like the one which showed how we could deal with pandemics to looking at the water table and infrastructure of our water supply, the government has spent a woeful amount of time enshrining the rights of statues, weighing the legality of drowning migrants and stripping back the British people’s right to protest or vote. The problem with a government whose entire ethos is to “conserve” is a terminal lack of ability to look to the future and prepare.

Ironic then that Johnson and his cadre have the bare faced cheek to speak at COP26, a conservation event with ideas about how to be more green, not brown…

One would think that conservation of nature would be higher on the CONSERVatives’ list of priorities- but there’s woefully little money to be made with ensuring compliance with EU regulations to keep waters clean, and it makes you look weak to confess that the shortage of chemicals used to refine waters is due to the HGV shortage and the impossibility of importing due to Brexit.

If dodgy PPE contracts, mishandling of a viral contagion, the murder of the NHS in plain sight, stoking of culture wars, increases in tax, breaking of manifesto pledges, food and med shortages don’t make you reconsider your vote- surely the drowning of our waters in human waste should give you pause before you put pencil to paper.

Published by

politicallyenraged

34 years old and fed up of the state of UK politics.

One thought on “Poisoned Rivers- isn’t this a party irrespective issue?”

  1. I emailed my local MP and this is what they responded with – I honestly didn’t read the whole email because I have the attention span of a wet rag but thats beside the point – is the response I got relevant to this issue? And is this a good thing?

    Response here:
    Dear Tish,

    Thank you for your email and for taking the time to write to me on this matter. Your contact gives me the opportunity to set the record straight on a matter which is being wholly misrepresented on social media.

    The Environment Bill, a ground-breaking piece of legislation initiated by this Conservative government, recently passed through the House of Lords, during which many amendments were tabled. These amendments were then examined by members of the House of Commons, who then voted on whether they should be accepted into the final form of this ground breaking Bill. The government and I evaluate and make decisions on all the amendments as and when they are proposed. Rest assured, I have noted your comments on the matter and I will keep them in mind when discussing this Bill and various amendments included with colleagues and ministers.

    The Environment Bill already contains many provisions to protect against water pollution and sewage discharges into rivers to help protect our waterways, and you are correct that an additional Bill sponsored by Philip Dunne MP is currently in its second reading. This government clearly recognises that during wet weather storm overflows release diluted wastewater into rivers, preventing a combination of sewage and rain from the overloading the sewers. However, their use has increased in recent years as climate change has led to greater rainfall and water infrastructure has not kept pace with population growth.

    The legal duties added to the Environment Bill will drive the changes needed to improve our water environment. These three duties are:

    · a duty on government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows;

    · a duty on government to report to Parliament on progress on implementing the plan; and

    · a duty on water companies to publish data on storm overflow operation on an annual basis.

    The government additionally committed to establishing the Storm Overflows Taskforce, which was established in August 2020 with the aim to bring the government, water industry, regulators and environmental groups together to drive improvements in this area. Through the Taskforce, water companies have committed to increase the number of overflows they will improve over the next five years and earlier this year the Taskforce committed to a new long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. The government expects to consult on potential options for ways to eliminate harm from storm overflows to take forward later this year.

    It may also interest you to know that The Government has this week announced that the Environment Bill will be further strengthened with an amendment that will see a duty enshrined in law to ensure water companies secure a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows. The amendment bolsters the raft of measures already being taken by Government through the Environment Bill, which as currently drafted will put in place more protections against water pollution than ever before.

    Now, with regards to the specific amendment which was voted down in the House of Commons, this was tabled in the House of Lords by His Grace the 9th Duke of Wellington. It sought to place a new duty on sewage undertakers in England and Wales to demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage. Whilst I, and indeed the government, of course have every sympathy for the sentiment behind this section, the fact of the matter is that the Duke’s ‘plan’ came with no timetable, no impact assessment and not even the roughest of estimates as to how much this would cost.

    I align myself with the words of Robert Courts MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, who has stated that:

    “In eliminating storm overflows, we are talking about transforming a system which has operated since the Victorian Era, the preliminary cost of which is estimated to be anywhere between £150 billion and £650 billion. To put those figures in perspective, £150 billion is more than the entire schools, policing and defence budgets put together, and £650 billion is well above what has been spent combatting the Coronavirus pandemic. The Government’s view was that it would have been irresponsible to have inserted this section in the Bill given that it was not backed by a detailed plan and thorough impact assessment. It would have been the equivalent of signing a blank check on behalf of billpayers.”

    The criticism on twitter and some left-wing media publications asserting that the government has voted to allow companies to dump raw sewage into our rivers is obviously wrong. You can be completely assured that protecting our country’s waters from pollution is a top priority of this government’s, and the Environment Bill protects against this.

    The Environment Bill as a whole is the most ambitious piece of legislation designed to tackle climate change and improve our natural environment that has ever passed through the Houses of Parliament. This Bill does not just make provisions about targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment, it also enforces waste and resource efficiency, aims to improve air quality, recall products which fail to meet environmental standards and improves conservations, in addition to increasing the regulations around use of chemicals.

    I am proud to say that I will support this Bill in the House of Commons when is tabled for its final vote.

    I hope you find this information useful.

    Like

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