South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne has used his opportunity of a Private Members Bill to propose a change in the law that would improve the water quality of rivers and watercourses in Britain.
Mr Dunne’s Bill will seek to place a duty on water companies to ensure that untreated sewage is not discharged into rivers and other inland waters. At present, treatment of waste water is required to different standards according to the area and population it serves. But an Environment Agency report found 86% of rivers do not meet current environmental standards. Mr Dunne’s Bill will aim to clamp down on raw sewage entering rivers and watercourses from overflowing or poorly functioning sewage treatment works.
Before making his proposal Mr Dunne asked South Shropshire residents to make suggestions, and his proposal was based around an idea brought forward by a constituent.
Mr Dunne said: “I am very grateful to the many people who got in touch to put forward ideas for my Private Members Bill. Today I decided to introduce a Bill, suggested by a constituent, with the intention materially to help clean up Britain’s rivers and watercourses. My Bill will seek to place a duty on water companies to ensure that untreated sewage is not discharged into rivers and other inland waters.
Work will now begin with the Parliamentary Clerks to find the best way of drafting this Bill to make it effective. I shall also be engaging with government to seek their support to have the best chance of becoming law. I intend to introduce it on the floor of the House on Friday 10th July, my first opportunity to do so in the Parliamentary calendar. I will update constituents from time to time about its progress.”
Mr Dunne was drawn 7th in the Private Members Bill ballot, which is the lowest place on the ballot that is guaranteed an opportunity for the Bill to be discussed, with enough time remaining in the Parliamentary session to have a chance of becoming law. The opportunity to introduce a Private Members Bill is very rare, and this is the first opportunity Mr Dunne has had to introduce a Bill since first elected in 2005.