Liberal Democrats call for protected status for rivers in Slough after sewage dumped 32 times in 2023

4 Jun 2024
Chelsea Whyte, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Slough, representing Burway Rowing Club

The Liberal Democrats have called for a new protected status for local rivers and marine protected areas, after shocking figures reveal that Thames Water dumped sewage 32 times in Slough in 2023.

Analysis of official data from the Environment Agency by the party shows that Thames Water discharged sewage in Slough’s waterways for a staggering 364 hours in 2023.

In an effort to tackle sewage dumping, the Liberal Democrats have announced a massive expansion of marine protected areas and a new Blue Flag status for rivers will be included in the party’s general election manifesto. The introduction of Blue Flag status would set legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping in those sites, giving special protected status for swimmers and wildlife. 

Slough’s Liberal Democrats have led the way in campaigning against sewage dumping in the area. Nationally the party recently announced plans to abolish Ofwat, introducing a new regulator with greater powers, which follows its plans for a ban on water company executive bonuses.

Slough’s Liberal Democrats are working on a more detailed analysis of exactly how this policy would apply to specific waterways in Slough, and hope to post that on the Slough Lib Dem website before too long.

Chelsea Whyte, Liberal Democrat candidate for Slough, said:

“Slough’s precious rivers and canals have been destroyed after years of a Conservative government letting water firms get away with environmental vandalism.

“As an avid rower, the state of our waterways brings me great concern. There is a complete disregard for the health and safety of people using the rivers and canals for recreational purposes, as well as the risk to wildlife and biodiversity.”

“It is time we got tough on polluting and profiteering water firms, yet Conservative MPs have stood by whilst swimmers have become ill and wildlife killed by sewage discharges. 

“This scandal has to end now. The Conservative party has failed to protect people and wildlife. 

“The Liberal Democrats will have the boldest manifesto on cleaning up our rivers and coastlines. Families should be free to enjoy our waterways, where safe to do so, in the knowledge that they are not polluted with sewage.”

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