Ludlow MP Philip Dunne 'disappointed' as Bill to clean Britain's rivers falls through

A Shropshire MP's bill to clean Britain's rivers has fallen through after a host of delays caused by the pandemic.

MP Philip Dunne besides the River Teme at Ludford Bridge, Ludlow
MP Philip Dunne besides the River Teme at Ludford Bridge, Ludlow

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne introduced a Private Members Bill last year that placed a duty on water companied to ensure untreated sewage was not dumped into inland waters.

Despite vocal support from various charities, MPs and organisations, doubt was cast over the future of the bill due to the length of time it was taking to reach the House of Commons.

Mr Dunne has now confirmed the bill will not become law, after the parliamentary session was brought to a close last week.

He said: "Unfortunately, this means the formal end of the road for my Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill, which aimed to stop sewage pollution entering our rivers and waterways.

"I am disappointed not to have passed the bill, but I am convinced my campaign and the brilliant public support I received has moved the dial on this issue."

The bill secured the support of several national agencies, more than 100 MPs, and a petition signed by over 50,000 people.

Priority

Mr Dunne added: "The government has committed to take forward the aims of my bill in future legislation in the next parliamentary session, which I shall press to secure."

He had hoped to work with the government before Christmas to implement the bill, but pressing legislation over the impending Brexit deal, along with the pandemic, took priority.

The government has, however, agreed to take on board elements of the bill for future legislation.

A taskforce was set to begin setting objectives for water companies to make them publish water quality test results in a transparent way and also begin the process of investing in drain infrastructure improvements.

In addition the Environment Secretary gave a commitment to make annual reports to Parliament on the issue of water quality.

In 2019, raw sewage was discharged into rivers across England and Wales for more than 1.5 million hours, compromising these vital habitats for wildlife and endangering the health of people who use the rivers for recreation.

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