Shropshire Star

Shropshire councillor launches petition to get water companies to 'clean up their act' over state of River Severn

A Shropshire councillor has launched a petition to get water companies to cover the cost of cleaning up the River Severn.

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Councillor Alex Wagner launches petition for residents to sign over state of rivers in Shropshire

It comes after January flooding has brought sewage and dumping issues in the River Severn onto Shrewsbury’s footpaths and parks.

Local Lib Dem councillor Alex Wagner, has today called for the introduction of a Sewage Tax on water company profits to fund local and regional efforts to improve water quality.

Councillor Wagner said: “The loop of the river defines Shrewsbury as a town. We should be able to take pride in the fact we have such great heritage and communities right here on the banks of the Severn.

"Sadly, our river hasn’t been a source of civic pride for some time now. In fact, the results of water quality testing show a shameful lack of care for our natural environment. This has to change, and policy has to move with haste.

“It is not good enough to say the job is too big or too expensive when human excrement and sewage is seeping into our town every day.

"For residents of the Town Centre, Coton Hill and Coleham in particular, this is a very real and increasingly disgusting issue to have to deal with.

“I’ve launched a campaign alongside Liberal Democrat colleagues to make water companies pay their fair share and clean up their act. Severn Trent made enormous profits last year and no doubt will this year.

"The government needs to make this money fund the clean-up of the River Severn and to let us be proud of our loop again."

Residents can find the petition at

Paper copies are due to circulate in Shrewsbury Town Centre and through letterboxes throughout town too.

A Severn Trent spokesman said: “We are absolutely committed to improving the health of our region’s rivers and we are working closely with communities across Shropshire to make progress, including through the creation of a bathing quality river in Ludlow.

“We’re continuing to invest £100m a year to go even further in improving our region’s rivers and are moving faster than sector targets to improve river quality. Last year we pledged that our operations will not be the reason for unhealthy rivers by 2030.

“Based on Environment Agency (EA) measures called RNAGS (Reasons for Not Achieving Good Status), current data from the EA shows that water companies are responsible for 24% of RNAGS in England, while other sectors are responsible for the remaining 76%.

“In the last year we have made progress and already reduced Severn Trent’s contribution to rivers in our region not achieving good environmental status to 18%, putting us ahead of our plan to reach 0% by 2030.”