obsters, crabs, clams and oysters are the “forgotten victims” of sewage being dumped into the ocean and rivers across the UK, new evaluation has proven.
Waters containing shellfish have been dumped in practically 29,000 instances final 12 months, with the longest occasion lasting 5,000 hours.
The analysis by the Liberal Democrats discovered 207,013 hours value of sewage have been dumped in waters round England inhabited by shellfish in 2021 alone.
South West, Southern Water and Anglian Water have been reportedly the utilities corporations with the worst information.
Tim Farron, the Lib Dems’ atmosphere spokesman, mentioned: “England’s treasured shellfish, our prawn, crayfish, lobsters and crabs, are the forgotten victims of this environmental scandal.
“The previous week we’ve seen our seashores closed due to these polluting water corporations. All of the whereas, they’re raking in billions of kilos in earnings and forking out eye-watering bonuses to their CEOs. Frankly, the entire thing stinks.
“Why aren’t Authorities ministers listening to the general public on this? They’re ignoring the nation’s outrage at this scandal.”
The opposition celebration claimed the longest sewage “dump occasion” into shellfish water final 12 months happened at Morecambe Bay by United Utilities, lasting 5,000 hours.
However the Lib Dems consider the sewage monitor on the website solely labored 15% of the time, suggesting that determine could possibly be a lot greater.
In Sussex, Southern Water dumped sewage into Chichester Harbour for 4,996 hours in a single overflow.
On the different finish of the south coast of England, South West Water dumped sewage into the ocean at Exmouth seashore, which additionally comprises shellfish, for 1,128 hours from only one overflow.
The Lib Dems have referred to as for a sewage tax on water corporations, to be able to create a fund geared toward stopping sewage from polluting rivers in future.
Final week, evaluation by the celebration revealed that bosses at Britain’s water corporations have on common been granted a 20% complete pay rise within the final 12 months, together with bonuses, regardless of the rising variety of incidents of sewage being pumped into open water.
David Jarrad, chief government of the Shellfish Affiliation of Nice Britain, mentioned that sewage being pumped into the ocean might result in a “lack of belief in consumption of shellfish by the patron” and “short-term closures of areas the place… oysters, mussels, clams are allowed to harvested”.
Mr Jarrad advised the PA Information Company: “The way in which we classify our waters across the UK coast, you solely must have two unhealthy readings within the 12 months and you may be downgraded for 12 months the next 12 months.
“These air pollution occasions right now could possibly be impacting on the gross sales of that product in 2023.”
Whereas Mr Jarrad mentioned sewage might “doubtlessly” impression the breeding of lobsters and crabs, it was shellfish corresponding to oysters and mussels that have been most in danger.
“It’s the filter feeders which can be filtering the water that doubtlessly has micro organism or viruses in it from the sewage, that’s the place the issue lies,” he mentioned.
A spokesman for Water UK, which represents the water corporations, mentioned they agreed there’s an “pressing want for motion to sort out the hurt triggered to the atmosphere by spills from storm overflows and wastewater therapy works” and are investing in £3 billion of enhancements.
The spokesman added: “Nevertheless, corporations need to go additional, sooner and are pushing to have the ability to spend extra, and for processes to be streamlined in order that funding could be shortly focused the place it’s wanted most.
“Any new funding should be mixed with motion from Authorities on moist wipes and concrete creep which can be more and more triggering spills.”
The Authorities mentioned it expects the water corporations to take additional motion to scale back air pollution.
“We have now been clear that the failure of water corporations to adequately cut back sewage discharges is totally unacceptable,” a Downing Avenue spokeswoman mentioned on Monday.
“They’ve an obligation to place their clients earlier than shareholders and we might count on them to take pressing motion on this challenge or face fines.”