Tories can’t blame the Victorians for sewage pollution | Letter

Tories can’t blame the Victorians for sewage pollution | Letter

Tories can’t blame the Victorians for sewage pollution

Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation of water companies led to huge dividends for shareholders and enormous CEO salaries, but not investment in our water infrastructure, writes Rosie Brocklehurst-Franczak

Raw sewage mixing with clean water in the river Kent,  Cumbria: 'The government and the water companies cannot be trusted to ensure clean rivers.'

Letters

Last modified on Thu 28 Oct 2021 14.03 EDT

Blaming human sewage pollution in all our rivers and miles of coastal waters on “Victorian infrastructure”, as Conservative MPs have done (UK government U-turns on sewage after Tory MPs threaten rebellion, 26 October), is like Kent county council’s charge that the Romans are to blame for the potholes in Kent’s roads.

Investment in our water and sewage infrastructure should have begun the moment Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation of the 10 regional water companies began in 1989. Instead, huge dividends to shareholders and enormous CEO salaries gobbled up a large part of the GBP150-GBP660bn that might have given us clean water today.

My local Conservative MP offered reassurance to constituency campaigners only last week, the same week in which she voted down the amendment to legally compel water companies to reduce sewage pollution. Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow ministers naively think shareholders could use their influence to get repairs done more quickly.

Where are Labour’s 2017 and 2019 manifestos that set out a plan for renationalisation? We are about to go into Cop26 talks. This government and the water companies cannot even be trusted to ensure clean rivers and coastal waters in our own country.
Rosie Brocklehurst-Franczak
St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex

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