North Devon MP votes against law to criminalise water companies for sewage spills

16 May 2024
Sewage discharge into a water course

On Wednesday, Conservative MPs including the MP for North Devon voted against a new law which would have seen water companies in court for sewage spills. 

The vote in Parliament took place on the same day a BBC report found sewage had been illegally dumped in the UNESCO protected Lake Windermere in the Lake District. 

The new law, opposed by Conservative MPs, would have created criminal offences for failing to meet pollution performance commitment levels, ensuring the polluting firms would go to court and face punishments including fines. 

The Environment Agency has previously called on water company Chief Executives and board members to face criminal charges, including court imposed fines. 

Despite cross-party support for the amendment, over 250 Conservative MPs voted against it. 

Liberal Democrat candidate for North Devon Ian Roome said: "It is shocking that Conservative MPs in our area have voted against this tough action on polluting water firms. 

"This is a national scandal which has blighted our own community. Water companies should have their day in court for environmental vandalism. 

"This law would have delivered justice for swimmers, wildlife and local rivers. Yet Conservative MPs shamelessly opposed. They simply don't care about our environment and protecting swimmers. 

"Our community needs a new MP who will actually get tough on water firms. At the next General Election, I will pledge to stand up for our environment and vote to get a grip on polluting companies."

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