After seemingly constant sewage spills the industry has now pledged to invest £10bn this decade in an attempt to quell public anger over pollution in seas and rivers.
Ruth Kelly, the chair of Water UK, said: “The message from the water and sewage industry today is clear: we are sorry. More should have been done to address the issue of spillages sooner and the public is right to be upset about the current quality of our rivers and beaches.
“We have listened and have an unprecedented plan to start to put it right. This problem cannot be fixed overnight, but we are determined to do everything we can to transform our rivers and seas in the way we all want to see.”
Is it enough?
The Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, said: “This apology and plan just don’t go far enough. For years water companies have arrogantly dismissed the public’s fears of rivers, lakes and coastlines being damaged by sewage discharges.
This is a good summary of the sewage scandal by Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio 5.
Swimming in sewage
Bizarrely in some way to possibly quell the anger at sewage being pumping into our waterways, Tory MP Damian Green said that he “remember as a child in South Wales swimming in sewage.”
ITV’s Peston show tweeted: “Conservative MP @DamianGreen says water pollution from sewage dumping has always been an issue, but it used to be perceived as more acceptable.”
There were many responses but the best from Prof Brian Cox. He tweeted: “You were lucky. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah. And you try and tell the young people of today that … they won’t believe you.”