Sewage in the sea

Take action for #SewageFreeSeas

3 minute read

Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas

29 Jun 2023

Hear from our Head of Clean Seas, Dr Laura Foster, about why we’re asking you to respond to the UK Government's consultation on its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan.

Our work on sewage pollution

One of the reasons I work at the Marine Conservation Society is that I want people to be able to love and enjoy the coast, and have our seas protected. I’ve known from personal experience, alongside listening to our supporters, just how often sewage has been getting into our seas. This cannot be allowed to continue, and we know that many of you agree.

We’re taking legal action to compel the UK Government to improve its Plan on storm overflows and protect our seas from sewage.

Ahead of the court hearing in July, the evidence we’ve presented has already resulted in the UK Government launching a consultation on expanding the Plan to include all estuarine and coastal waters.

This is great news, but it’s not over yet. By answering a few questions on the UK Government website and sharing your views on sewage pollution, you can help to make sure that all of our seas are included in the Plan.

Anyone can respond to this consultation; you don’t need to be a scientist or have any experience, and it takes just 10 minutes to complete!

You can help to make sure that all of our seas are included in the Plan.

Sewage free seas campaign image

How to respond to the consultation

Although we'd love to provide some suggested wording and ask you to copy and paste them into your response, this wouldn’t be as effective. Identical responses are grouped together and classed as one response, so you’ll need to answer in your own words.

The more individual responses there are, the better the chance we have of positive change for the ocean.

Ensure estuarine and coastal waters are included in the UK Government's Plan

Submit your consultation response today

It may look a bit daunting at first, but don't worry, you don't need to answer everything. We suggest focusing on answering three questions, 4, 6 and 7, which are the most relevant to securing the inclusion of all our seas in the Plan.

Using your own words, answer the below questions making them personal to you and where you live. I've put some useful information together to help you:

Question 4: Should the government explore developing an ecological standard for coastal and estuarine waters?

Yes! If you want to explain your answer, you can tell the government why you think it would be good to measure water quality.

Question 6: Should any other areas be added to the current list of high priority sites in the Plan?

We need the Government to include Marine Protected Areas as high priority sites – please tell them.

You can learn about why they're so important and tell the UK Government why they shouldn’t be dumping sewage in protected areas by checking our Marine Protected Areas webpages.

Question 7: Should all overflows, including those discharging into coastal and estuarine waters, be included in the scope of the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan?

Again, the answer is yes! Take a look at our mapping of protected seas, and information on the impacts of sewage pollution.

Share on social media

Once you’ve responded to the consultation, please share this on your social channels to spread the word:

Let's make #SewageFreeSeas a reality with @mcsuk by demanding that all our seas are included in the @GOVUK storm overflows Plan.

Use your voice today:

What happens next?

The UK Government have 12 weeks to respond to the consultation once it closes. It’s crucial that we keep up the pressure to make sure that you are listened to.

Meanwhile, our legal case, which is supported and funded by Good Law Project, will be in court from 4th-6th July. The case seeks to insist that the Government honours its duty to safeguard our public right to enjoy and benefit from healthy seas – for current and future generations. Find out more here.