Lib Dems call for new protections for rivers and coastlines as sewage dumped over 83,000 times in Welsh waters last year

7 Jun 2024
Jane Dodds

The Liberal Democrats have announced a massive expansion of marine protected areas and a new Blue Flag status for rivers will be included in their general election manifesto. 

In response to sewage being pumped into bathing water status rivers, the party has announced plans for new Blue Flag rivers, setting legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping in those sites. Blue Flag rivers would give special protected status for swimmers and wildlife. 

The current government bathing water scheme has failed to protect waterways from sewage discharges by only requiring increased water quality testing. Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found in 2021 Dŵr Cymru discharged sewage into bathing water areas across Wales 7,888 times for over 63,598 hours. Dŵr Cymru has since failed to report sewage discharges in bathing waters since 2021.

The Liberal Democrats are also announcing new plans to protect coastal marine wildlife, which would see the expansion of the blue belt of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Marine environments are currently in a state of crisis due to sewage and plastic pollution.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: 

“Our precious rivers and coastlines have been destroyed after years of a Conservative government letting water firms get away with environmental vandalism.

Meanwhile the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff Bay has also failed to use the powers they have available to them to tackle the issue.

It is time we got tough on polluting and profiteering water firms. Conservative MPs and Welsh Labour Ministers have stood by whilst swimmers have become ill and wildlife killed by sewage discharges. 

This scandal has to end now. The Liberal Democrats will have the boldest manifesto on cleaning up our rivers and coastlines. Families should be free to swim safely in the knowledge that our waters are not polluted with sewage.”

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