Campaigners in Devon and Cornwall join paddle-outs in sewage protests | Englishheadline


Surfers Against Sewage in Plymouth

Campaigners in Plymouth were calling on water companies to reduce sewage discharges by 90%

Campaigners in Devon and Cornwall took to the sea to protest against water companies discharging sewage into waterways.

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) led paddle-outs at Plymouth Sound, Falmouth’s Gyllyngvase and in Croyde.

Rebecca Allen, marine conservation lecturer said: “This problem is killing marine and aquatic life globally.”

A South West Water (SWW) spokeswoman said it was “investing significantly” to reduce spills.

But Kelsey-Michell Guy from SAS, who was at the Plymouth event on Saturday, said it was time for urgent action.

Kelsey-Michell Guy

Kelsey-Michell Guy from SAS was among protesters

She added: “We’ve heard it all before, they’ve apologised before and they’ve told us that they are going to act before.

“But instead of bringing forward those actions they’re telling us it’s going to take another few decades and it’s just not good enough.”

Last month, SWW was fined a record amount of more than £2.1m after admitting causing pollution in Devon and Cornwall.

SAS is demanding an end to sewage discharges into UK bathing waters and a 90% reduction in sewage discharges by 2030.

Rebecca Allen

Rebecca Allen, a marine conservation lecturer, says the problem is killing marine life

The paddle-out was among 12 protests across the country.

Cornwall College lecturer Ms Allen added: “We’ve got flushing toilets that were invented hundreds of years ago, we need new systems to reclaim our waste and treat it and make it safe.”

Barry Wall, a year-round swimmer at Tinside Beach in Plymouth, added: “I tend not to come if there’s been heavy rainfall, I wait two or three days to come again, just play safe.”

There were more than 37,000 monitored sewage spills in the South West Water (SWW) area last year.


The paddle-out in Plymouth was among 12 events across the country

A SWW spokeswoman said: “We want everyone to feel confident about water quality across our region and proud of the performance of their water company.

“We continue to reduce our use of storm overflows but we know there is more to do.”

She said they were “investing significantly” to bring down spills across 860 miles of coastline and had installed monitoring on all storm overflows ahead of target.

“We have a plan, it is working and we won’t stop until everyone can feel proud about the performance of their water company in the South West,” she said.

Water UK, the body which represents England’s nine water and sewage companies, apologised on behalf of the industry this week as it announced a £10bn plan to tackle sewage spills.

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