.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Standing up for otters and the environment

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats, using a list of well-known otter habitats from the Wildlife Trust, has found that water firms dumped sewage over 650 times in otter habitats last year – lasting a total of 2,546 hours.

According to the Express, the worst incident was near Portrack Marsh, where Northumbrian Water discharged sewage for 561 hours in the River Tees:

Several firms discharged sewage into or nearby otter habitats, including United Utilities, Anglian Water and Yorkshire Water.

Liberal Democrat Environment spokesman Tim Farron MP said: “This is a scandal. Otters must be saved from raw sewage ruining their homes. No animal seems safe from this awful polluting crime.

“At the very least there should be a ban on all discharges into rivers which serve otter habitats. The public will be rightly outraged at water firms stuffing their pockets with bonuses whilst wrecking our natural environment. Frankly, the whole thing stinks.”

Ali Morse, water policy manager at The Wildlife Trusts, said otters were almost driven to extinction historically because of habitat loss and the dangerous use of organo-chlorine pesticides, which poisoned their food sources.

She added: “While better controls on toxic chemicals helped these charismatic creatures to recover, modern cocktails of pollution from sewage and farming are putting otters and other wildlife under huge pressure again.

“We know that chemical pollutants find their way into watercourses from storm overflows but also in the effluent from wastewater treatment works; ‘treated’ doesn’t mean the discharge has no impact on nature.

“Water companies need to look seriously at the harm both treated and untreated sewage causes to lakes, rivers, and streams. Otters rely on clean and healthy water; they shouldn’t be fighting for survival in rivers plagued by human waste.”

The Liberal Democrats have also called for a ban on water firm executives receiving bonuses.

Half of water companies paid out bonuses for the past financial year despite the sewage crisis, regulator Ofwat revealed on Wednesday.

It said that five out of 10 water companies that deal with sewage had chosen to award performance-related bonuses.

Northumbrian Water, Wessex Water, Anglian Water, United Utilities and Severn Trent all paid out bonuses to at least one of their top executives. These were paid by shareholders rather than customer bills.

James Wallace, chief executive of River Action, says "The combination of 1.7 million hours of raw sewage and 26,000 tonnes of phosphates from manure released each year by water companies and farms is snuffing the light and life from our rivers.

"Our rivers are turning into greeny-brown, stinking drains for profiteering industries with no sanctuary for wildlife. We need the Government to do its job: monitor and regulate polluters and incentivise sustainable waste management. Or we are staring down the barrel of mass extinctions across our once fair and pleasant land."

This is a scandal that the government need to get a grip on, even if it means massive public investment to prevent it happening again.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?