Preventing Storm Overflows

15 Dec 2022

At last night’s Full Council meeting of South Gloucestershire Council Liberal Democrats were dismayed that the ruling Conservative group would not support their motion calling on the government to give water companies and councils the powers to stop poor housing developments exacerbating the already struggling water infrastructure which can lead to raw sewage being discharged into rivers and seas.

They asked the Leader of Council to write to the government asking them to enact Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act requiring a SuDS Approving Body (SAB) to approve new connections of surface water to the public sewer stopping the developers from putting in inadequate drainage systems setting up problems for the future. The Conservatives refused to do this.

Cllr Jon Lean (Frampton Cotterell) stated

“Residents are rightfully concerned about the level of sewage discharge from water companies into our watercourses. I’m sure we’ve all seen and been alarmed at the numerous national media reports recently about sewage being discharged into our seas and rivers.

Sewage discharge in our rivers primarily happens when storm overflows operate, and storm overflows operate when large volumes of rainwater and agricultural run off enter the sewer network through the surface water drainage system. Schedule 3 is an important piece of legislation which would promote and enforce the use of sustainable drainage and keep the storm water out of our sewers. The local Conservative group say that storm overflows have no place in the 21st century but they also support a government plan that seeks to manage storm overflow discharges until at least 2050. If we’re truly going to get rid of storm overflows that plan needs to be far more ambitious.”

Lib Dems also called on the Council to write to Wessex Water to ensure that the River Frome and Ladden Brook are classified as high priority sites and are required to demonstrate no adverse ecological impact by storm overflows by 2035. They were again horrified that the Conservatives refused to do this.

Cllr Claire Young (Leader of the Liberal Democrat group) said

“Alderman Dave Hockey campaigned for two decades to stop sewage in the Frome, which frequently led to waste being deposited on the Glebeland in Frampton Cotterell. We welcome the action he secured, but there is still much more that needs to be done. This motion is a vital first step towards remedying the damage being done to the biodiversity of our rivers. It calls upon this council to use its influence and voice to lobby government for sufficient funding and concrete actions to prevent the discharging of sewage into our rivers.

It makes no sense that the Conservatives will not write to Wessex Water about the Frome and Ladden Brook and more evidence that the Tories don’t have the environment at the heart of their policies.”