The UK government is taking urgent measures to limit sewage flows into rivers and the sea in England, according to the environment secretary. George Eustice announced a strategy to reduce pollution from the “most damaging” storm overflows by 75 percent by 2035 and by 80 percent by 2050. After 1,000 sewage spills per day in 2021, water companies are under pressure. They could face legal consequences if they admit to illegal discharges. Following the admission last year, the government launched a large inquiry into more than 2,200 sewage treatment plants in England, spanning all water and sewerage firms. Mr. Eustice stated that the government will invest £7 billion in sewage infrastructure upgrades until 2025, but confessed that water bills will rise by roughly £12 per year to pay expenditures after that.

The Liberal Democrats called the number of sewage spills a “national scandal,” accusing the government of “ignoring the country’s outrage.” Labor claimed that the country was facing “a dirty water emergency,” blaming the Conservative administration for allowing water firms “to dump raw sewage into our rivers, lakes, and seas with impunity.” Storm overflows, which dump untreated sewage and precipitation into the environment to relieve pressure on the system, resulted in more than 372,000 spill occurrences in 2021, according to new data released on Thursday. According to the data, the observed spill occurrences lasted more than 2.6 million hours in total last year. In extraordinary instances, such as following heavy rainfall, water providers are permitted to release untreated sewage into rivers.