Improving the water quality of our rivers, waterways, and coastlines is so important.
They're a vital habitat for wildlife, places for recreation, and crucially a source of water which we all depend on.
I know there are concerns in Faversham and other parts of the constituency about water quality – particularly the amount of discharge from our sewage network into local waterways.
Storm overflows are meant to act as relief valves, allowing a small amount of sewage into waterways at times of exceptionally heavy rainfall. But sewage discharge has been happening too often and in too many places.
This is something I have raised with Ministers and our local Environment Agency team.
I’m pleased that the Government is making a number of changes to the Environment Bill, which include action on storm overflows.
New duties in the Bill will require the Government to publish a plan to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows by September 2022 and report to Parliament on the progress towards implementing the plan. Water companies and the Environment Agency will also be required to publish data on storm overflow operations annually.
There is still work to do to make sure our sewage network is fit for purpose, but this is a step in the right direction.