12 October 2022
Dunne speaks in debate on sewage discharges

Philip Dunne made brief contribution to debate in Parliament yesterday calling for results of the water quality monitoring upstream and downstream of storm overflows to be made public, for water companies to be statutory consultees for large developments and to speed up implementation of drainage management plans where possible.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow) (Con)

My congratulations to my office neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman). I will make a few quick points, because I agree with virtually everything that has been said—apart from what the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mick Whitley) just said.

The Minister, in her response, needs to reassure us that she will be looking at the water quality target work done over the past year. That is due to be published shortly. She needs to ensure that it dovetails with what is in the Environment Act 2021, in order to ensure that the results of the self-monitoring called for by many Members upstream and downstream of the storm overflows are made available to the water companies, the Environment Agency and the public, so that we can all know the quality of the water we are visiting.

Secondly, I hope the Minister will speak to her colleagues in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill goes through, so that we can ensure that the necessary measures, as highlighted by the former Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Rebecca Pow), who has done so much work on these issues, can be properly brought into effect in legislation as required. That includes, for example, making water companies statutory consultees for large developments that might impact on a treatment or supply location. At present they are not, other than through the local plans.

Finally, when the Minister looks at the implementation of drainage management plans by water companies, I urge her to recognise that there is the possibility for some companies to go further and faster with those plans? Will she encourage them to do so, as Severn Trent did when it decided to replace the main sewer in Mansfield as part of the green recovery plan funding last summer?