Andover’s MP has given a response to questions over his vote against a bill amendment which would stop large companies dumping raw sewage into our rivers.
Kit Malthouse voted against a Lords Amendment to the environment bill which would have placed a ‘legal duty’ on water companies in England and Wales not to pump waste into rivers and the sea.
The amendment would have required water companies to ‘take all reasonable steps to ensure untreated sewage is not discharged from storm overflows’.
265 MPs voted down the amendment. A backlash from the public has forced many Conservative MPs, including Mr Malthouse, to defend their position.
Talking to Love Andover, the MP for North West Hampshire said, “The waste pumped by water companies into our rivers must be dealt with, and we are already working with them to drastically reduce it.
“All discharges by a water company require a permit issued by the Environment Agency, and these permits have strict conditions attached to them.
“If they are not met, the Agency has powers to investigate and take enforcement action. In the last five years alone, there have been 47 prosecutions and fines of over £132 million.“
The vote came just days before the UK hosts the COP26 international climate summit.
Mr Malthouse added, “Our Environment Bill will impose stringent new requirements on the water companies with regard to river water quality and let’s not forget, between now and 2025, those companies are investing some £3.1 billion in storm overflow improvements throughout England.
“We will always strive to work with industry and consumers to make our environment as pristine as we can.”
According to Environment Agency figures, raw sewage was pumped into our waters more than 400,000 times last year.
The Evolve Politics website published a list of all 256 MPs who voted against the amendment.