17 November 2022
Dunne highlights soil erosion problem off St Agnes beach in Cornwall

Philip Dunne highlights the soil erosion problem off St Agnes beach in Cornwall recently, rather than caused by sewage discharge. Both are problems, but he calls on campaigners to draw distinction when it is pointed out to them, rather than leap to wrong conclusions.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow) (Con)

The Minister will be aware that two or three weeks ago there was a well-publicised spillage at the beach at St Agnes in Cornwall, where a large volume of brown material was expelled into the river. Many campaigners immediately leapt to the assumption that it was a sewage discharge and became very voluble about how disgraceful it was. Had it been sewage, it would have been disgraceful, but it was in fact soil erosion. That is in itself another problem, but we need to urge moderate language when we manage these issues. People should not immediately leap to a conclusion, but allow the Environment Agency and the water company to be clear about what has caused the incident.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Rebecca Pow)

I thank my right hon. Friend for raising that particular issue. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon, assuming that it was sewage, and it was proven not to be. That is why monitoring is so important and why this Government have set in place a comprehensive monitoring and data-gathering programme and project. We need that to sort out those issues, as well as all the other measures we have put in place.