Good Law Project, High Court - Billy Barraclough

We took legal action against the UK Government to make sewage-free seas a reality.

Our High Court case

In November 2022, we took the necessary step of joining as a co-claimant in a legal challenge to compel the UK Government to rewrite its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan.

We sought to impose tighter deadlines on water companies and effectively add England's coastal waters and estuaries to the Plan, which were almost entirely excluded prior to the court case.

In July 2023, we had our day in High Court together with the Good Law Project and co-claimants, Richard Haward's Oysters, and surfer and activist Hugo Tagholm.

The High Court's ruling

On 15th September 2023, the High Court dismissed our case. Although we didn’t get the result we wanted, we were not disheartened.

Sandy Luk, our CEO, said: “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".

Our evidence sparked a consultation from the UK Government

The evidence we provided as part of our legal challenge was so compelling that, in the run-up to the hearing, the UK Government launched a consultation. The consultation reviewed expanding the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan to include all English estuarine and coastal waters.

Together with countless supporters and members we responded to the consultation before it closed in July.

The result

On 25th September 2023, the UK Government responded to the public consultation by announcing that all storm overflows in England will now be included in the Plan, including all coastal waters and estuaries.

The revised Plan, with its goals to limit sewage discharges for all high priority sites by 2045, is an important step to achieve sewage-free seas.

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