Sewage in the sea

We've got a court date!

2 minute read

We've had confirmation of a hearing date for our landmark sewage legal case: 4 - 6th July 2023

In just over two months’ time, our case against the UK Government will be heard in the High Court.

In November last year, we joined a legal case as a last resort. We’re urging the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to address the deluge of raw sewage being dumped into English seas.

Our research shows that there are 1,625 storm overflows within 1km of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in England, spilling sewage into the sea for a shocking 187,796 hours – the equivalent of 21 years – in 2022.

With the confirmation of our hearing date, we’re one step closer to protecting our seas from sewage pollution.

Sandy Luk, CEO
CSO - Sewage in sea

Credit: Kate Wilson

Sandy Luk, our Chief Executive said, “Our research shows that raw sewage is being uncontrollably dumped directly into English seas, home to incredible wildlife and vital habitats, like seagrass. Areas that should be protected are threatened by a harmful cocktail of pollutants.

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. With an effective plan that applies to all coastal waters and has much tighter deadlines, the UK Government can prevent further marine pollution in English waters, so that people and wildlife are safe."

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Healthier oceans, protected oceans

We all deserve a healthy ocean, for people and planet. In a recent poll conducted by YouGov* 80% of people surveyed said that they would stop visiting the beach if they found sewage-related rubbish washed up on the shore.

Nearly half (48%) of people who’ve visited a beach in the last 2 years said that sewage has changed their behaviour whilst at the beach, for example, not swimming or avoiding certain areas.

We may be able to avoid the water, but for the marine life that calls it home, this isn't possible. We need to speak up for our seas and protect the ocean.

People on the beach in Penzance Dominik Pearce

Credit: Dominik Pearce

We're demanding that the UK Government rewrites its Storm Overflows Discharges Reduction Plan, which is not fit for purpose. We want to see real solutions to reduce and prevent this pollution urgently. For the sake of our ocean, we need the UK Government to:

  • Impose tighter deadlines on water companies
  • Redevelop the Plan to apply to coastal waters which are, currently, almost entirely excluded.
  • Set targets to stop harmful pollutants, including chemicals and microplastics, at source

*Total sample size was 2034 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th - 17th March 2023.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Read more about the case so far...