As sewage hits the headlines once again, community groups across the UK are demanding action

The public is outraged by the lack of action by water companies, regulators and government to clean up our polluted rivers and seas. They have turned our rivers into open sewers, and our seas into places unfit for wildlife and people. Despite public outcry, these agencies are watering down their action on pollution.

In response, the public has stood up for water; organising into hundreds of local campaign groups, testing our local water quality, applying for bathing status, engaging our local politicians and representatives, petitioning parliament and the water companies, and continuing to lobby, persuade and protest.

Now, water quality campaign groups – frustrated that the public who pay for both the water companies and regulation continue to be ignored – have joined forces to publish a public declaration.

“Horrified at the sewage pollution of all of our rivers, and many of our sea-sides, we have stood up for water, organising into hundreds of local campaign groups, testing our waters, petitioning, lobbying, persuading and protesting. Meanwhile our representatives water down existing regulation and allow our rivers to be used as open sewers. The public have woken up to this woeful mismanagement. Its time our representatives got behind public opinion and outrage.” Becky Malby, Ilkley Clean River Group

“Up and down the country we have come together to demand an end to the sewage scandal that’s making us, our rivers and seas sick. It’s time to stop profiteering off pollution, it’s time to hold polluters to account, it’s time to end sewage pollution for good. This is an emergency.” Amy Slack, River Action

Public Declaration

Our rivers and seas should be protected for nature, for ourselves and for future generations.

This is our declaration:

  • Stop pollution for profit.
  • Make our waters healthy and safe again.
  • Action now, not targets sometime.
  • Regulation that protects the victims, not the polluters.
  • Now it’s time for the polluters to pay.

Water companies must comply with, and regulators must regulate according to the 1991 Water Industry Act and 1994 Urban Waste Water Treatment Regulations, which require all sewage to be treated, and for storm overflows (which discharge raw sewage) to only operate in truly exceptional circumstances.

Signed on behalf of:

  • Ilkley Clean River Campaign
  • River Action
  • Surfers Against Sewage
  • SOS Whitstable
  • Windrush Against Sewage Pollution
  • WildFish

With support from:

  • Boston Spa, Wetherby & Villages Green Group
  • Clean River Kent Campaign
  • Hayling Sewage Watch
  • Nidd Action Group
  • Oxford Rivers Project
  • Save Windermere

For further information and interviews, please contact:

  • Becky Malby, Ilkley Clean River Campaign, 07974 777309
  • Ashley Smith, Windrush Against Sewage Pollution, 07944 657075
  • Immy O’Keefe, WildFish, 07496 358009
  • Izzy Ross, Surfers Against Sewage, 07456 652479
  • Sally Burtt-Jones, SOS Whitstable, 07967 217983