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More than 100 sewage discharges across England after summer deluge

As summer rain sweeps across England, more than 100 sewage overflows have been reported across the country.

According to the Rivers Trust’s real-time sewage pollution map, the longest discharge in the past 48 hours was reported at Brookhouse Brook in the Epping Forrest district of Essex, lasting for more than 25 hours.

This was followed by discharges at the Little Hallingbury Brook in Uttlesford, Essex, and the River Ver in Hertfordshire, which both saw continuous sewage releases lasting for more than 22 hours.

Surfers Against Sewage data shows that the largest number of sewage discharge alerts in the past 48 hours was reported in Cornwall, where 10 alerts were issued, followed by the Isle of Wight, where there were seven.

The largest number of sewage discharges were reported in Cornwall, followed by the Isle of Wight (Photo: Surfers Against Sewage)

Sewage was also discharged into Chichester Harbour, which is part of the Solent Maritime Special Area of Conservation (SAC) that houses rare sponges and reefs.

i recently revealed that the Solent Maritime SAC had sewage dumped into it for nearly 18,700 hours last year – the highest figure for any SAC in England.

Sewage was poured into marine Special Areas of Conservation for over 100,000 hours last year

It comes after i called on all political parties in the general election campaign to sign up to its five-point manifesto to protect Britain’s rivers from sewage and other forms of pollution.

Amid growing public outrage at the health hazards from pollution and widespread destruction of wildlife, i published its manifesto to provide parties with a clear blueprint of how to reverse the damage caused to Britain’s waterways.

It aims to force political action and bring an end to Britain’s rivers, seas and waterways being treated as open sewers.

While the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party signed up to the manifesto, Labour and the Conservatives are yet to back it in full.

Sir Keir Starmer praised i‘s manifesto before becoming Prime Minister, but stopped short of fully committing to its five pledges.

Katy Colley, 48, owns a campsite near Hastings, East Sussex, where two separate sewage alerts were issued in the past 48 hours.

She told i: “We own a campsite and we have people who want to come swim in the sea.

“We feel it is such a shame that people don’t want to get in the water – and you can’t blame them.

“We really do want to get this under control, but we cannot trust the water companies to do it.”

Ms Colley helped launch the website boycottwaterbills.com, which she claims has united thousands of people who are protesting against sewage spills and the lack of action by water companies by boycotting bill payments.

“There is a lot of momentum now behind the water bills boycott scene. It is gaining a lot of traction and it’s something that everyone really cares about.”

Katy Colley of Hastings, East Sussex

Southern Water, which is responsible for wastewater services in Hastings and the Solent Maritime SAC, said that it will be investing more than £3bn between 2020 and 2025 to improve its network and reduce storm overflows.

The company also plans to invest a further £7.8bn between 2025 and 2030 to upgrade its wastewater treatment works and reduce environmental damage.

Thames Water, Southern Water and South West Water have been contacted for a comment.

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