Surfers Against Sewage were in Westminster yesterday delivering a national call for Sewage Free Seas, supported by more than 13,000 members of the public, as part of our Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group. Leading an informed group of experts including charities, scientists, trade associations, consumer groups, regulators, water industry representatives, sports governing bodies and surfers, we delivered a convincing case for Sewage Free Seas at the meeting. The strength of the message resonated with the All Party Parliamentary Group as today, Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, in his capacity of Chairman for the Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group, has urged the Environment Agency to enforce tighter legal limits on combined sewage overflows. Commenting, Steve said:
“Today we heard first-hand from our friends at local Cornish charity Surfers Against Sewage, experts representing the scientific community, the shellfish industry, the water sports sector and from a young water user who recently fell seriously ill after bathing in contaminated water, accounts about the need for tighter regulations governing combined sewer overflows.”
“I am pleased that after hearing this evidence, the Protect Our Waves APPG has decided to support Surfers Against Sewage and the Sewage Free Seas call for strict legal limits of a maximum of 3 spills from sewage systems into bathing water per bathing season and no more than 10 annually impacting any single bathing water. We will be writing to the Environment Agency, urging them to take action.”
“The Protect Our Waves APPG will be joining calls that the Environment Agency make the water industry clean up its act and clamp down once and for all on these spillages, which can have such a negative impact on the beautiful seas and coastline of places like Cornwall.”
The Environment Agency will decide in the coming weeks what level the new Spill Frequency Trigger Permits should be introduced at. The outcome of this consultation could have major consequences for the numbers of pollution events across the country.
We would like to thank our Sewage Free Seas partners who also delivered evidence at the All Party Parliamentary Group, including the Marine Conservation Society, Surfing GB and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain.
We were also supported by scientists from Exeter Medical School, outlining the health risks water users are exposed to, including the potential from antimicrobial resistant bacteria. And finally, we would like to thank Leah, a 13-year-old surfer from Cornwall. Leah confidently stood before this intimidating group, in imposing surroundings and delivered and eloquent and passionate case for Sewage Free Seas.
Thanks also to the rest of the Sewage Free Seas partners for helping promote the campaign, including Carve, Magic Seaweed, Wavelength, Surfdome, Approaching Lines, the London Surf Film Festival, Link Countryside Wildlife and Countryside Link, British Kite Sports Association, Isle of Wight surf club, Sennen Surfing Centre, Andrew Couldwell and M&C Saatchi.