Tag Archives: sewage

10 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Government amendment on “deeply damaging” non-disclosure agreements does not go far enough to protect victims
  • Shoplifting: Govt continues to let organised gangs off the hook
  • Cole-Hamilton criticises state of sewage monitoring
  • SNP burn through ScotWind cash in record time
  • McArthur responds to opposition to assisted dying bill

Government amendment on “deeply damaging” non-disclosure agreements does not go far enough to protect victims

After tireless campaigning by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, the Government in the House of Lords has tabled an amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill that ensures non-disclosure agreements preventing victims from disclosing information to the police or other bodies (including confidential support services) cannot be legally enforced.

Responding to the tabling of this amendment, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

The Liberal Democrats have long been campaigning to end the deeply damaging practice of non-disclosure agreements. This amendment is a welcome move that will help victims to access the support they need.

But while this is a step in the right direction, the Government is not going far enough in giving victims their voice back.

We need a complete ban of NDAs in cases of sexual misconduct, harassment and bullying to ensure that no victim is silenced.

Shoplifting: Govt continues to let organised gangs off the hook

Responding to the news that assaulting a shop worker will be made a separate criminal offence in England and Wales, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

For too long, the Conservative Government have been sitting on their hands while hardworking shopkeepers are left to face the brunt of the shoplifting epidemic alone.

As the majority of shoplifting cases go unsolved, the Conservatives has repeatedly failed to get even the basics right of tackling this issue – something their new gimmicks won’t change.

It is now vital the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary invest in proper community policing and ensure all shoplifting thefts are investigated.

The government is currently letting organised criminal gangs off the hook and leaving shopkeepers hugely vulnerable.

Cole-Hamilton criticises state of sewage monitoring

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has called on the SNP and Greens to get tough with Scottish Water as it was revealed that in three local authorities there is no monitoring of sewage dumping at all and in ten more local authorities just one or two sites are monitored.

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Layla Moran challenges Sunak on Thames Water incompetence

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran had a question to the Prime Minister today.

She challenged him on Thames Water, who are putting charges to her constituents up, despite providing a terrible service. She said:

Thames Water is a shambles. During the recent flooding in Oxfordshire, it dumped sewage from 270 sites along the Thames in one week. Waste was backing up into people’s homes because of drains that it had not unblocked, and it could not even refill its own reservoir because the rivers were too dirty. Rather than offering a rebate for this shoddy service, Thames Water is intending to put bills up for everyone by 60%. Will the Prime Minister explain to my constituents why they are being asked to foot the bill for Thames Water’s gross incompetence?

Sunak responded by basically reaffirming Layla’s point that Thames Water had been terrible, but without much in the way of understanding or action to prevent such a massive increase in charges.

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20 September 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Latest inflation figures will be “of cold comfort”
  • Liberal Democrats call for increase to apprenticeship pay as dropout rates soar
  • Davey: Sunak is trashing the economy of the future
  • Over 1,000 sewage leaks in armed forces’ accommodation
  • Davey: This is not leadership from Rishi Sunak, this is putting the UK at the back of the queue

Latest inflation figures will be “of cold comfort”

The latest inflation figures show that inflation has fallen slightly to 6.7% from 6.8% in August. Responding to the news Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

This news will be of cold comfort for families across the country still struggling with sky high prices and mortgages because the Conservatives have crashed the economy.

Ministers still simply haven’t got a clue how to protect hardworking people’s wallets during the cost of living crisis.

Rishi Sunak should not pat himself on the back whilst this crisis carries on, the Government must do more.

Liberal Democrats call for increase to apprenticeship pay as dropout rates soar

Apprenticeships in shortage occupations have fallen by up to 73%, research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats reveal, while in some sectors three in four apprentices are dropping out before completing their course.

It comes as the party is set to adopt proposals to increase pay for apprenticeships to at least the minimum wage, as part of a new industrial strategy being unveiled at its Autumn Conference this weekend.

A collapse in new apprenticeships is contributing to the crippling skills shortages affecting British businesses, making it even harder for them to fill vacancies. House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats shows that sectors listed in the Government’s official “shortage occupation list” have seen particularly stark falls in apprenticeships.

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Is sewage the new potholes? Ed Davey on the BBC Newscast

Following an excellent interview in the Guardian on Tuesday, Ed Davey has now made an impressive appearance on the BBC Newscast. It starts about 5minutes 30 seconds in.

He talks about the G7 summit and the local elections, but the main topic of discussion is sewage. He says that bill-payers should not be paying for the errors of the water companies, and that some of the practices were illegal anyway and they have not been meeting their legal obligations.

Ed is asked how the Lib Dems can turn the local election surge into success at the next General Election. He thought we might have gained 150 Council seats, but in the event we took over 400.  He is asked the inevitable question about a possible coalition with Labour, and he confirms that there will no deal ahead of the election. Instead Liberal Democrats will be concentrating on winning more seats.

They also chat about the stunts – knocking down the blue wall and the big blue clock. He claimed credit for inventing the Blue Wall concept and his brilliant team for turning it into memorable visual images.

Finally, obliquely referring to the Guardian interview, Ed is asked how he has coped now and in the past with family trauma and his caring responsibilities.  In reply he talks a bit about Emily and John, and about the need for mental health support for carers and for bereaved children.

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Lisa Smart steps in

Lisa Smart has made The Guardian in a story about an issue we all love to hate – sewage: Sewage-soaked field stops creation of new woodland in Greater Manchester where you can view of photo of Lisa gamely inspecting the mess.

Lisa is a councillor on Stockport Council and our PPC for Hazel Grove. The article tells us:

Plans to plant a new woodland have been cancelled after local councillors discovered a field was so saturated with sewage the soil could be too toxic for the trees.

The woodland was to have been planted in a council-owned field located by Otterspool Road in Romiley, Greater Manchester. Officials hoped the woodland would improve the environment, provide green space and encourage wildlife habitats.

However, Stockport councillors have learned the land is unsuitable for tree planting because of sewage discharges leaching into the ground. They were told the resulting soil contamination would make it hard to plant the trees, so they had decided to cancel the woodland.

And the blame for this stink?

According to Environment Agency data, United Utilities discharged sewage at Otterspool Road 135 times last year, which amounted to 40 days of sewage flowing.

The water company was found to be the most polluting in the country last year. One of United Utilities’ pipes spilled sewage into the River Ellen, near the Lake District, for nearly 7,000 hours in 2022. Environment Agency data also showed that 10 of the country’s 20 pipes that spilled the most sewage in 2022 were owned by United Utilities, which provides water to the north-west and the Lake District.

This isn’t the first time Lisa has looked into sewage. She has been running a campaign on river pollution for some time, and tells us that “Lib Dem run Stockport Council has become the first council in the country to launch an official Sewage Inquiry”, which she is chairing.

The Manchester Evening News covered the campaign with this headline: “Toilet paper hanging from trees…and the smell”: Sewage inquiry launched after water firm pumped filth into river nearly 1,000 times last year.

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28 February 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Fuel poverty figures reveal over 7 million household struggling with energy bills
  • Sewage: Govt Minister refuses to protect clean water regulations

Fuel poverty figures reveal over 7 million household struggling with energy bills

New fuel poverty statistics have revealed millions of households are struggling to afford their energy bills.

The government’s annual Fuel Poverty Report showed there were an estimated 3.26 million households (13.4%) in fuel poverty in England in 2022, which is expected to rise to 3.5 million in 2023. A staggering 7.39 million (30.3%) of households in England had to spend more than 10% of income on energy costs in 2022, up from 4.93 million (20.5%) in 2021.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to scrap its plans to increase average energy bills by £500 in April, and instead cut bills funded through a proper windfall tax.

Responding to the news, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

These stark figures show milions of families and pensioners are struggling to afford sky-high energy bills.

It beggars belief that the Conservatives are plannng to worsen this cost of living catastrophe by hiking people’s energy bills by another £500 in April.

People in fuel poverty need support without delay. We need to cut energy bills and expand support for the most vulnerable, funded through a proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants making record profits.

Sewage: Govt Minister refuses to protect clean water regulations

Today, the Liberal Democrats held up proceedings in the Committee Stage of the Retained EU Law Bill to save regulations that protect both swimmers and wildlife from sewage and other water pollution.

The Bathing Water Regulations and Water Framework Directive are both at risk of being scrapped under the Government’s new Retained EU Law Bill, which aims to remove hundreds of pieces of legislation from UK law.

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25 January 2023 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Zahawi: Raab must bring in law to stop baseless legal threats
  • Sunak holding “Hideaway Day” at Chequers with scandal-hit Cabinet
  • New sewage target passed in Parliament which allows 15 more years of harmful waste in rivers
  • Conservative MPs vote to cover up the truth about golden visas

Zahawi: Raab must bring in law to stop baseless legal threats

The Liberal Democrats have written to Dominic Raab, calling on him to “urgently” bring in a new law to stop journalists and campaigners being silenced through legal threats.

It comes following numerous reports that Conservative Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi used the threat of legal action against campaigners and journalists who raised questions about his tax affairs.

The government has previously promised new legislation to tackle the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). Last year in response to a consultation on the issue, Dominic Raab warned these sorts of legal threats can have a “chilling effect” and “stifle legitimate reporting and debate,” with “media and others intimidated into abandoning critical stories in the face of crippling legal costs.”

Raab also previously said that “it is wrong that unscrupulous individuals and corporations are able to exploit our laws and our courts in this jurisdiction with claims designed to muzzle respected journalists, academics and campaigners.”

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to bring in new anti-SLAPP laws as quickly as possible, and to clarify if they would prevent Cabinet Ministers such as Nadhim Zahawi from behaving in the way which has been alleged.

The party is also calling for the current investigation by the ethics adviser to look into the use of legal threats by Nadhim Zahawi.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Dominic Raab has rightly warned about the chilling effect that the threat of legal action can have on media scrutiny and exposing corruption. It’s now time to put his money where his mouth is by finally bringing forward tough new laws to tackle these baseless legal threats.

It is particularly worrying that Nadhim Zahawi reportedly used the threat of legal action against those raising questions about his tax affairs. We need to know whether the new rules the government is proposing in this area will tackle such behaviour by Cabinet Ministers in future.

The current inquiry into Zahawi by the ethics adviser must also look into this issue, and whether legal threats were used in an attempt to cover up the truth. It can’t be one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

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24 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Borrowing Figures: The Govt have no economic competence left
  • Stockport becomes first council to launch a sewage inquiry amid public outrage
  • Mark Drakeford Challenged on Abysmal Ambulance Waiting Times

Borrowing Figures: The Govt have no economic competence left

Responding to the latest borrowing figures, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

A toxic combination of Conservative incompetence and reckless decision making at the top of Government have blown a hole in the country’s finances, and now ministers are making British families pay for it.

A long-list of Conservative Chancellors have hiked taxes, added hundreds of pounds a month to mortgages and left the country with unnecessarily high borrowing costs. The British public will never trust the Conservative party again with the economy. This Conservative Government doesn’t have a shred of economic competence left after months of chaos.

Stockport becomes first council to launch a sewage inquiry amid public outrage

  • Water company hauled in front of public meeting to defend thousands of hours worth of sewage discharges into rivers
  • The Environment Agency confirms in written evidence that water quality is “poor” and the Water Industry “is responsible”
  • Chair of the new inquiry Cllr Smart slams “a national scandal which pollutes our rivers and puts animals lives at risk”

Liberal Democrat run Stockport Council has become the first council in the country to launch an official Sewage Inquiry.

There is widespread outrage across Stockport after United Utilities dumped sewage into the river Mersey a staggering 977 times last year, lasting 3,271 hours. Across Stockport, the water firm discharged 13,372 hours of sewage discharges into local rivers.

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Sewage dumped on Wales’ Blue Flag beaches 579 times, lasting 6,757 hours

A new analysis of Environment Agency data by the Welsh Liberal Democrats have revealed that Welsh Water has dumped sewage onto our Blue Flag beaches 579 times, lasting an astonishing 6,757 hours

The worst incident was on Poppit Sands Beach near Cardigan with sewage dumped 79 times lasting 1,518 hours. South Beach in Aberystwyth had the highest number of incidents at 142.

Preseli Pembrokeshire ranks as the constituency with the highest number of sewage dumps in the whole of England and Wales with 6754 dumps in 2021 (79,501 hours). Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and Dwyfor Meirionnydd come a close second and third.

The …

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24 November 2022 – today’s press release

  • Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000
  • Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation
  • Michelle Mone: Lib Dems table amendment to scrap VIP lanes
  • Richard Foord MP raises sewage report in Parliament after his son fell sick swimming in Devon river
  • Full Review in Social Services in Wales Needed After Logan Mwangi Report

Government ‘must get a grip’ as asylum backlog soars to 143,000

Responding to new official figures showing that the asylum backlog has risen to 143,377, with 97,717 waiting more than six months, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

The Home Office is a disaster zone, and it’s clear who is to blame. By their own admission, the Conservatives have broken our asylum system and shattered public trust in it.

Tens of thousands of refugees have been waiting months for a decision, banned from working or renting their own home. The Conservative chaos at the Home Office is wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every day.

The Government must finally get a grip. It should take asylum cases away from the discredited Home Office and set up a new independent unit to make decisions quickly and correctly.

We need a fair, effective asylum system that treats everyone with dignity, and that everyone can have confidence in.

Raab emails: Lib Dems write to Cabinet Secretary demanding investigation

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Cabinet Secretary asking for an investigation into reports that Dominic Raab has been using his personal email for Government business.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain, who wrote the letter, commented:

The public deserve answers, not more cover-ups.

The drumbeat of allegations against Dominic Raab is relentless. From reports of bullying to allegations he has followed in the footsteps of Suella Braverman by using his personal email for government business, it is obvious that investigations are needed.

The Deputy Prime Minister cannot be relaxed about national security, especially at a time when Britain’s enemies are stepping up their cyber attacks. It is only right and proper the Cabinet Office investigate these reports and determine immediately if overseas enemies could have seen national secrets sent by Dominic Raab.

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22 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Debt figures: Conservative Chancellors have blown black hole in Britain’s finances
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats to Vote to Withhold Legislative Consent on the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill
  • OECD forecast: Damning verdict of the Government’s economic record
  • Sewage: Budget means almost £500 million less to tackle the sewage crisis
  • Levelling Up Bill: Conservative chaos to blame for cancellation of vote

Debt figures: Conservative Chancellors have blown black hole in Britain’s finances

Responding to new ONS figures showing the scale of UK government borrowing in October, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

These figures reveal just how badly the long list of Conservative Chancellors have trashed our economy. This Government has blown a massive black hole in Britain’s finances and is now expecting hardworking families to pick up the bill.

It is a national scandal that big banks are getting massive tax cuts whilst the squeezed-middle gets clobbered with endless tax rises.

The sensible way to solve this is surely to tax the richest companies making bumper profits. We can’t trust this Conservative Government to clean up their own mess. They should never be trusted to run our country’s economy.

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26 August 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Davey – price rise “nothing short of catastrophe for millions”
  • Sewage: New Govt plan is a cruel joke and will result in 325,000 sewage dumps a year by 2030

Davey – price rise “nothing short of catastrophe for millions”

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey responds to price cap announcement:

This energy price rise is nothing short of a catastrophe for millions of families and pensioners already struggling to make ends meet.

The only option is for energy prices to be frozen before these rises wreak havoc on our communities. Then we need a proper plan to be put in place to bring bills down

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Sewage dumped in shellfish water 29,000 times by water companies

  • New fears shellfish could be contaminated by sewage dumps as over 200,000 hours of sewage is pumped into their habitat
  • The worst offenders are South West Water and Southern Water
  • Tim Farron slams lack of action from the Government: “Why aren’t Government Ministers listening to the public on this? They are ignoring the country’s outrage at this scandal.”

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found sewage was dumped into waters containing shellfish a staggering 29,000 times last year. The party has raised fears this could be taking place again this summer.

This equates to 207,013 hours worth of sewage in shellfish waters in England …

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Seaside sewage monitors revealed to be faulty or not even installed

Monitors which are supposed to measure the amount of sewage being pumped into popular seaside spots found to be broken or not even installed.

As many as one in eight southern sewage monitors installed for designated swimming areas are either faulty or not installed.

Sewage monitors along popular Cornish and Sussex coastlines not even installed – Lib Dem MP slams the water companies: “This is a national scandal and these new figures stink of a cover-up.”

New analysis of Environment Agency data by the Liberal Democrats has revealed water companies are failing to monitor sewage discharges at popular British seaside resorts. …

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Farron & Foord: Water executives get bonuses despite sewerage scandal

In a press release that is receiving widespread coverage in this morning’s media, Tim Farron and Richard Foord attacked the huge bonuses received by water bosses while sewerage pours into our rivers and seas.

  • Average water company executive pay and bonuses rose by a fifth compared to last year despite 2.7 million hours of sewage being pumped into rivers and swimming spots
  • Average water company executives paid themselves £100,000 more in bonuses alone. Their average annual bonus now stands at over £600,000
  • New Lib Dem figures revealed as hosepipe ban is announced for Thames Water who lose a quarter of all their water due due to leaking pipes going unfixed.

In the week that sewage flowed into Britain’s treasured seaside swimming spots, new analysis of water companies’ Annual Reports by the Liberal Democrats has found that executive pay packets have spiralled out of control.

Next week, millions of Thames Water customers will also suffer from a hosepipe ban despite the company leaking a quarter of all its water from leaking pipes. The firm failed to invest in fixing the leaks, but found over £3 million to pay their execs, an increase on last year’s executive payout.

Combined bonuses and salaries pay packets per water company executive rose by a fifth (21%) from 2020/2021 to 2021/2022. This is a year-on-year average rise per executive of nearly £200,000.

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16 August 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Pay squeeze: Families are being hammered by a cost of living catastrophe
  • Lib Dems: As the country floods, water companies are pumping out untold amounts of sewage

Pay squeeze: Families are being hammered by a cost of living catastrophe

Responding to the latest monthly wage figures which show real-term wages falling by 3%, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Families are being hammered by a cost of living catastrophe and yet the Government is nowhere to be found.

This Zombie Government has no plan and is failing our country. People can’t wait any longer for the Conservatives to play out their

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Liberal Democrats: Ban water company bosses’ bonuses until sewage discharges end

England’s water company bosses have awarded themselves almost £27 million in bonuses over the past two years despite pumping out raw sewage into waterways 1,000 times a day, the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

Analysis of Companies House records by the Liberal Democrats shows that executives at England’s water and sewage companies were paid £48 million in 2020 and 2021, including £27.6 million in bonuses, benefits and incentives.

The eye-watering executive pay packets and company profits were made despite the Environment Agency reporting nearly 772,000 sewage dumping events taking place in 2020 and 2021 alone, or over 1,000 per day.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to ban new bonuses for water company executives until sewage offences are brought to an end. The party is also calling on water company bosses to hand back last year’s bonuses and for the funds to be used to clean up rivers and lakes that have been polluted by sewage.

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Sewage vote: Government ignores millions of people

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Liberal Democrat MPs last night voted against the Government’s weak proposal to tackling sewage in local rivers. Commenting after the vote Liberal Democrat Communities & Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

Today, the government ignored millions of people who demanded action to save our treasured rivers and lakes. This is a slap in the face for what has been one of the boldest and more inspiring environmental campaigns in recent years.

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Kicking up yet another stink

What, if anything, do we learn, or reaffirm, from the 2021 double rerun of The Great Stink of 1885? The events are not, of course, directly comparable. The Victorian version directly offended the nostrils of Parliamentarians. The 2021 versions offend the nostrums of the governing Party.

The 1885 stink led to great reforms – the creation (eventually) of the Public Works Loans Board to fund long-term infrastructure investment and Joseph Bazalgette’s designs for the Embankment.

This year’s more-political stinks were first triggered by the Tories refusal to oblige privatised water companies to stop dumping raw sewage – as intended by a Lord’s amendment to a long-awaited Environment Bill. The stink set Downing Street on a voyage around the u-bend – to find some way of cleaning up the mess. But that was merely a pre-cursor to the next stink – a 3-line whip to wreck the Parliamentary Standards regulation. That stink was belatedly recognised as unwise – not least because Tory MPs felt they’d been dumped upon.

But both stinks directly affect Fareham for two reasons.

Firstly, our Hill Head residents are campaigning for better beach signage to warn bathers and sailors of the untreated effluent dumped by Southern Water. This pollution stink coincided with COP26 – further damaging the government’s ‘green’ credentials. Their much delayed ‘Environment Bill’ is still being bounced around Parliament – with common sense being championed from the Lords only to be rejected by those concerned more to protect profits.

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