The Medway Labour and Cooperative Group have criticised the government’s weak leadership when it comes to forcing companies to reduce the amount of raw sewage they discharge into our rivers and sea.

The Environment Agency has reported that in the last year raw sewage was discharged into coastal waters and rivers in England more than 400,000 times.

Despite Britain’s low international rankings when it comes to bathing water quality, the government had still initially refused to support legislation aimed at combating the harmful practice.

Nonetheless, the Medway Labour Group is thankful that public pressure has forced the government into a U-turn on this issue.

Cllr Tristan Osborne, Medway Labour and Cooperative Group Representative for Luton and Wayfield said:

“While relieved that common sense eventually prevailed, we are extremely concerned about the government’s neglect in allowing this much raw sewage to be discharged over the last year. Respecting the River Medway and our heritage should be a priority for Boris Johnson.

“Time and time again, whether it be on the issues of sewage or on Chatham Docks, people in positions of power have neglected to protect and preserve the fundamental parts of our community that make us who we are.”

Cllr Vince Maple, Leader of the Medway Labour and Cooperative Group added:

“We welcome the government’s U-turn on this question, and regret that it took such widespread public outcry to force their hand on this issue.

“We strongly oppose the levels of this sewage that are currently being pumped into our nation’s rivers and sea. The extent of this practice has been bad news for the environment of Medway, and bad news for the environment of much of Britain.

“The fact that international agencies have consistently ranked us near the bottom of the European table for quality of bathing waters show the true extent of the problem, and it’s shameful that the Tory government needed overwhelming public pressure to act on this issue.

“Credit must also go to Kelly Tolhurst and Tracey Crouch for defying their own government on this issue initially and refusing to support the amounts of raw sewage that are currently poisoning our waters.”

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