Good Law Project, High Court - Billy Barraclough

High Court delivers verdict on our sewage case

1 minute read

This afternoon, Friday 15th September 2023, the High Court dismissed our case against the UK Government to address the deluge of raw sewage being dumped into English seas.

Our CEO, Sandy Luk, said of the ruling: “While we didn’t get the result we wanted today, we will not be disheartened. By challenging the UK Government on its failure to address the impact of untreated sewage discharges into our coastal waters and estuaries, we’ve been able to make great progress, pushing for our ocean to be protected".

As long as raw sewage continues to pour into our seas, affecting wildlife, habitats and all life that depends on it, we will keep doing everything possible to stop it.

Sandy Luk, CEO

As a result of the case, the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched a public consultation, seeking views and input on expanding its sewage plan (Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan) to cover English coastal and estuarine waters, a crucial addition initially overlooked.

What happens now?

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas, said: “Our expectations of the UK Government are clear: our seas must be fully protected from sewage pollution, with no exception. The launch of the consultation was a step in the right direction. Now, we wait for the Government’s response to this, and we expect them to act to protect our seas from sewage pollution for the benefit of nature, people, and our planet.”

What does the future hold? For now, our focus remains on the consultation response—specifically on advocating for the inclusion of all English coastal waters and estuaries. We’re determined to address Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and other spills that are polluting our seas.

Sewage free seas court

Credit: Good Law Project

Support our work for sewage-free seas

The case would not have been possible without the Good Law Project, who funded the case and brought us together with co-claimants Richard Haward’s Oysters, and Hugo Tagholm.

Will you join us as we continue to work for a cleaner, better protected, and healthier ocean? With your support we can continue to hold our governments to account on unacceptable sewage pollution and be a voice for the ocean, calling attention to the impacts of sewage pollution on our blue planet, and developing solutions.

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