21 May 2024
Cotswolds Sewage Meeting

The MP’s annual river and sewage pollution meeting took place last Friday 17th May. In attendance were representatives from Stroud and Cotswold District, and Parish councillors, as well as representatives from the Environment Agency and Thames Water. 

It was also very well attended by people representing other organisations including Windrush Against Sewage Pollution, Cotswold Rivers Trust, Cotswold Flyfishers, Upper Coln Restoration Group, Evenlode Catchment Partnership, and many other individuals from every corner of the constituency. It was an action-packed agenda which more than filled the time available, such was the interest in the subject.

Topics discussed included the £22 million sewage upgrade works in Cirencester, but also comprehensive schemes in Moreton, Bourton, Fairford, and Ampney St Peter. The meeting heard how the Conservative Government’s new Environment Act 2021 meant that virtually 100 percent of all sewage outflows into rivers are now metered which is up from 7 percent in 2010, and the figures are all publicly available. This means that there is far greater knowledge about sewage pollution than there ever used to be.

The main purpose of the meeting is to put continual downward pressure on the authorities on the amount of sewage pollution going into rivers, which is happening slowly with the upgrade of various sewage treatment works. The meeting heard that there is a mismatch between building new houses and ensuring that the sewage infrastructure is built at the same time to the required standard, and the investment needed to upgrade the sewage works as a consequence. The MP asked for a paper from Cotswold District Council on this matter, which he will then take up with the Government.

Commenting after the meeting, Sir Geoffrey said:

“This was a constructive meeting which taken alongside my twice-yearly flooding meetings is yielding real results in reducing flooding and sewage pollution in our rivers. The public clearly thinks that these meetings are valuable as there was a unanimous wish to increase them from a yearly to a twice-yearly basis, and provided I am elected as MP to for the North Cotswolds, I will commit for this to happen in the new constituency”.