Pollution in the river ends in the sea – anyone for a swim?

More on sewage discharges from Nicola Daniel:

I am deeply disappointed that the government has passed such a weak compromise amendment to the Environment Bill on raw sewage discharge into our waters. There is no time scale or an increase in penalties. No one, including SWW seems in a hurry to rectify the situation. If SWW are “totally committed to supporting beaver habitats”, I would like to see their plan of action.

The lower saltmarsh area of the Otter is designated a SSSI and part of this area is a Marine Conservation Zone as well.

The River Otter cannot wait. The beavers and the otters cannot wait.

The river Otter is 44 km. long and the Tale, its main tributary, is 14 km., a total of only 58km (36miles).There is agricultural run-off in these rivers and also permitted sewage discharge from us humans.

There were: 7,229 hours of permitted sewage outfall in 2020 from 891 episodes! This is from just one small river and its tributary in East Devon.

(I have taken these figures from the Rivers Trust sewage network discharges map. https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/e834e261b53740eba2fe6736e37bbc7b/

I hate to think what the pollution level has been in the sea off Budleigh Salterton with the flooding we have experienced in the last weeks. What goes in the river ends in the sea plus whatever is discharged by those living in seaside communities.

In the case of Budleigh residents added a further 623 hours from 83 episodes and also, with a good westerly breeze and tidal flow, more is added to the bay from Straight Point where the Maer Lane Sewage works discharged, 850 hours, from 59 episodes.

A total of 8,702 hours from 1033 episodes (20 per week on average).

The Prediction board is not functioning on the Parade.

If it seems that there is no immediate or even future solution to pollution in our seas and rivers what can we do? We cant wait. Do we follow the example of Cornwall County Council who are working with Natural England, the Environment Agency and South West Water due to the high phosphate levels in the river Camel. The river Camel is part of a Special Area of Conservation. This has resulted in all planning and development proposals in the area being put on hold.

It is clear that in East Devon sewage treatment capacity is failing to keep up with development.

Anyone for a swim?

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