New government measures have been announced for a law aimed at reducing harm from storm overflows. New legal duties on water companies and government will reduce sewage discharged into waterways from storm overflows as part of an ambitious agenda to build back greener from the pandemic.
Following the introduction of a Private Member’s Bill in 2020, a number of key policies will be made law. This will create three key duties to oversee some of the changes needed to improve our water environment:
- 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.
I welcome these changes to law, especially those targeting storm overflows following my own raising of this issue in Parliament over recent months. For years, some water companies and OFWAT have failed to get a grip on repeated sewage and water flooding. As a result, planning objections are mounting against the delivery of much-needed and wanted local homes.
Too many homes in our local area have experienced repeated sewage and other flooding. In recent years, this has been a regular problem for residents of Albert Road in Deal as well as occasional issues in Eastry and for other local residents too. Sewage and other storm flooding are not acceptable, they cause misery to residents and damage to homes.
There is more to do on this issue and I met with the Chief Executive of OFWAT recently to discuss what steps can be taken to ensure there is an adequate and timely water supply and sewage management system for Dover and Deal. I will continue to press on solutions to improve our local water infrastructure.