Star comment: River Severn is a jewel - but raw sewage is spoiling it

The River Severn is a jewel for our whole region and ties us together.

The River Severn in Shrewsbury
The River Severn in Shrewsbury

As it makes its way from north to south, it provides corridors for nature and leisure. It used to be a route for industry and trade and is now enjoyed for leisure.

Yet it is being bespoiled as raw sewage is dumped into the river, creating similar scenes to the disgusting ones that have fouled beaches across the UK.

Those that use the river, like anglers, are best placed to judge its health and they have concluded it is in a poor state. Fishermen say they are more likely to hook discarded waste than fish. The scale of the problem is significant and one fishing competition has been cancelled because the problem.

It is time further efforts were made to cut down on the amount of sewage ending up in rivers – and agricultural waste too.

We are supposed to be one of the richest nations on earth and it ought not to be beyond us to compel water companies to dispose of sewage cleanly.

Dumping effluent in the ocean or in the river is an unthinkably poor idea when we have the technology and resources to treat it cleanly. A lack of political will is the issue, alongside the unpalatable desire of directors to put profit before the environment.

It’s disgraceful, frankly, that such behaviour is not only tolerated, but effectively encouraged. It goes against our need to protect the natural world and to create a better region for all to live in.

The present position is unacceptable and those in positions of authority should be striving for improvements.

We need to be better, as a nation, than to engage in such foul and disagreeable practices.

The big success of the McArthurGlen West Midlands development is welcome.

It is welcoming record numbers of visitors and has ongoing expansion plans. It draws people in from a wide area across the Midlands, who enjoy a day out with shopping and a stop off for lunch.

Offering the kind of ‘experience shopping’ that our town and city centres need to strive, it shows others how to survive in an uncertain world.

McArthurGlen West Midlands had a good start, in that it arose from a blank canvas, built for motorists and with free parking.

Traditional towns and cities have a harder task, but they must also attempt to encourage people to visit. That means making themselves into more than just a shopping centre. Restaurants and leisure facilities are also needed, as well as more town centre living.

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