Angling Trust calls for sea anglers to remain vigilant over coastal sewage spills

Heavy rains over the last few days have seen coastal storm overflows spilling sewage discharges into the sea as water companies fail to cope with the downpours.

Following the ongoing drought, the rock-hard ground has been less capable of absorbing rainfall, leading to the overwhelmed drainage systems. Storm overflows are intended only to be used when sewers are full and to avoid raw sewage from being released into the streets.

Sea anglers across the country have been vocal on social media about sewage alerts in their local area and supportive of the Anglers Against Pollution campaign, such as Matt, also known as the Saltwater Angler, who posted a video on Twitter of sewage being discharged at Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex.

Since Monday, storm discharge events have taken place across beaches in Cornwall, Cumbria, Devon, Essex, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland and Sussex.

Failing infrastructure is largely to blame for the surge in sewage discharges over recent years, but despite the desperate need for investment, industry regulator OFWAT has repeatedly put obstacles in the way of much-needed wastewater management. Time to Fix the Broken Water, a joint report by the Angling Trust and Wildfish (formerly Salmon and Trout Conservation), outlines strategic priorities for OFWAT to invest in infrastructure and improve the environment.

The Angling Trust encourages anglers to be vocal about sewage discharges in their local area and to support the Anglers Against Pollution campaign. We are actively lobbying the government to rethink its plans on sewage management and address sewage discharges as a matter of urgency.

Kris Kent, Angling Trust Campaigns & Advocacy Manager, said: “It is deeply worrying to hear that dozens of beaches have been closed due to sewage discharges into our seas.  In May, the Angling Trust submitted its significant concerns on sewage discharges as part of the consultation on the government’s storm overflow reduction plans.

“The Anglers Against Pollution campaign is urging for action to be taken now to stop water companies from discharging raw sewage into our seas and our rivers; we cannot wait until 2035 and 2050, as the government targets currently state.  We are also deeply concerned that this week the plan to reduce sewage, which was supposed to have been published in September, has now been shelved, with Defra saying that it will be released ‘in due course’.  Once again, too little, too late and with no sustained commitment.”

Hannah Rudd, Angling Trust Policy & Advocacy Manager, said, “This is yet again more appalling behaviour by water companies who have blatant disrespect for the environment. As customers, we do not pay water companies to pollute our lakes, rivers, and coasts. It is becoming increasingly frustrating that shareholders are paid big dividends whilst little, if any, investment is made into the infrastructure needed to rectify this issue.

“Sea anglers enjoy the coast just like swimmers, surfers and any other beachgoer. No one should go to the beach at risk to their health or have concerns about coming across raw sewage. The government must urgently deal with this, and we encourage all anglers to get behind the Angling Trust’s Anglers Against Pollution campaign to hold water companies to account.”


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