Sewage Pollution

For too long, our waterways and seas have had sewage discharged into them, with our homes and streets experiencing sewage overflows. This is an unacceptable situation. More investment to increase capacity in the waste water system is urgently needed to prevent this disgusting pollution of our water and prevent sewerage overflowing from manholes in times of heavy rain.

What causes sewage discharges? How bad is it currently? What is the Government doing to improve things?

  • I have published a series of Frequently Asked Questions about sewage discharges.
  • Here you will find background information on our sewage systems, details on the current quality of our bathing waters, and the investment Government is making to improve the current situation.
  • If, like me, you have signed up for the Environment Agency pollution alerts and the Surfers Against Sewage alerts, you will have been dismayed by the number of alerts you have received, particularly this summer.
  • These alerts, however, are confusing because they point out the additional risk caused by the potential for stormy weather. Many residents confuse this alert for actual sewage discharges. I have published further information on Environment Agency Pollution Risk Forecasts - what do they actually mean?

What have you been doing to tackle this issue?

  • In 2021, I was one of 22 Conservative MPs who rebelled against the then Government to support a House of Lords amendment to the Environment Bill.
  • That amendment would have put a legal duty on sewage companies to take reasonable steps to eradicate sewage discharges.
  • Although the amendment was defeated, the Government reflected and subsequently amended the Bill to place a legal duty on waste water companies to bring an end to the practice of discharging sewage into rivers and the sea during times of heavy rainfall.
  • You can read more about Why I supported tougher measures to tackle sewage discharges
  • Last year, I led a debate in Parliament where I put forward a number of proposals to the Environment Minister that would help to expedite the removal of sewage from sea and rivers through combined sewer overflows.
  • My key ask was to ensure that all agencies involved in water quality, sewage and surface water removal have a statutory duty to work collectively to reduce sewage spills and storm outflows which blight the quality of bathing water and rivers. 
  • You can read more about my Sewage Discharges Debate in Parliament.
  • During this time, I have also been working hard locally with Southern Water, the Environment Agency, and other relevant stakeholders, to ensure that we remain on track to make progress in this area.

Where can I find out more?

  • You can more information about what I have been doing to tackle sewage pollution in the News section below.


Sewage Pollution Update 23 January 2023

Last Friday, Huw and Sally-Ann Hart MP (Hastings and Rye) held their regular quarterly meeting with Southern Water Chief Executive, Lawrence Gosden.