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WildFish has started a court action seeking to force the withdrawal and redrafting of the Government’s Sewage Overflows Plan - WildFish

In 2021, raw sewage was dumped in UK rivers by water companies for over 3 million hours.

WildFish are campaigning for urgent action

The Government’s Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan (The Plan) is supposed to show how the government will deal with sewage pollution from storm overflows, but:

The cause of the problem. The laws to deal with the problem have been in place for many years. The underlying cause of the current problems is the continued failure of the water companies to comply with the duties imposed on them, and the government, to properly enforce them. The Plan does not deal with this.

WildFish argues that the Plan is unlawful on the grounds that: it approves continuing unlawful conduct, fails to take into account the existing law, breaches the Habitats Regulations, and is irrational. WildFish has instructed leading environmental law barrister James Maurici KC and Charles Bishop of Landmark Chambers, and Fieldfisher LLP, to bring the challenge.

Nick Measham, CEO, WildFish said: “Years of underinvestment and absent regulators have got us where we are today with widespread illegal sewage discharges. If The Plan is intended to deal with illegal discharges, it is unlawfully encouraging law breaking for years to come. If it is not intended to deal with these illegal discharges, it is irrelevant.”

The action is by way of a claim for judicial review against the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, presently Thérèse Coffey MP. The Environment Agency and Ofwat have been joined as “Interested Parties” as they are directly affected by the claim.


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Posted On: 25/11/2022

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