Raw sewage is being routinely pumped into rivers in Yorkshire by Yorkshire Water, local MP John Healey can reveal in new figures he’s released.

In the last year, Yorkshire Water was responsible for over 65,083 reported sewage overflows, each lasting for an average 6 hours. In Wentworth and Dearne alone, sewage spilled into local rivers on 976 separate occasions in 2020 and lasting for over 13,000 hours.

The MP is part of a Labour bid to change legislation to end the routine discharge of raw sewage into rivers and seas, and he’s challenged Conservative MPs to back not block the move after the government whipped them to vote against a ban last week.

The Government is under pressure and has since signalled it will do more. John Healey and Labour want to make sure any new rules are tough enough to end raw sewage dumped in English rivers. The legislation is due back in the Commons again next week (Wednesday 3 November) when MPs will debate the Lords’ changes to the Environment Bill.

The problem is nationwide, as raw sewage was discharged into UK rivers and seas over 400,000 times in the last year alone. There were 2,941 discharges into UK coastal bathing waters during the May-September bathing season alone, severely impacting coastal communities. The UK is ranked last in the EU for bathing water quality. None of our rivers are in a healthy condition, with none meeting good chemical standards and only 14% meeting good ecological standards.

John has said: “This is the chance to end the raw sewage being pumped into our rivers and seas. It makes them unsafe and unpleasant for local people, but it also pollutes precious river habitats for marine life, birds and mammals.

“People are right to be upset at the state of England’s rivers. For too long the Government has turned a blind eye to water companies venting raw sewage, with Ministers unwilling to act. It’s time Tory MPs backed not blocked the legislation needed to stop this pollution.”