Across England in 2023, raw sewage was discharged into rivers and seas for more than 3.6 million hours, 105 percent more than in 2022. Meanwhile, water bosses have earned £25 million in bonuses since the last election.

Water companies across all regions in the UK have been dumping raw sewage into our waterways without any consequences, putting the nation’s health and environment at risk.

Since 2019, the water bosses responsible for this mess have awarded themselves bonuses of £25 million and incentives, and yet the Government has not taken any action to resolve this matter.

Across Yorkshire, sewage spilled a total of 77,761 times. This equates to more than 500,000 hours. The Barnsley Chronicle recently reported figures that revealed that in Barnsley specifically, sewage has been pumped into our rivers for well over 10,000 hours on over 100 separate occasions.

Some of the worst hit areas in Barnsley are Darfield and Wombwell. In Wombwell, sewage spilled into the river for 56 days non-stop. This is dangerous to the health of local families and devastating to our environment, and it has to stop.

We need immediate action. The Labour Party would put water companies into special measures, and under our plans, Ofwat would have been able to block six out of nine of the bosses’ bonuses.

Our plans would include: Giving the water regulator powers to block the payment of any bonuses until water bosses have cleaned up their filth.

Water bosses who oversee repeated law-breaking would also face criminal charges. We would end self-monitoring, forcing all companies to monitor every single water outlet under independent supervision so companies can no longer cover up illegal sewage dumping, introducing severe and automatic fines that water companies can’t afford to ignore for illegal sewage discharges.

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Water bosses have to stop rewarding themselves for their mistakes. Labour would introduce measures to end this outrage, and make them clean up their messes.