For or against sewage pollution?
Is that really the hard question it has turned out to be for some MPs?
The kerfuffle that exploded after Members of Parliament were accused of voting to dump untreated sewage in our rivers and seas has continued all week. The widespread media coverage and growing public disgust forced the government to rethink its rejection of the Duke of Wellington's amendment which would have added essential teeth to otherwise loophole filled law.
We understand that the changes have been ready for a while but for some reason, the government side hung on to them until Friday evening and put them up, with the vote due on Monday, leaving little to no time for review and discussion by the MPs who will again be called on to vote with the government. It looks like they are being hustled and that is not fair on anyone.
We have studied the wording of the new proposal and have read the opinion of one very well informed solicitor and one specialist barrister and we are of the carefully considered view that the new draft is far too weak and will effectively make pollution that is illegal right now become legal.
Dealing with with the scare tactics used to justify the last vote against stopping pollution, the more realistic cost of dealing with the key failures in the water industry is now put at between £3.9billion to £62.7 billion (imagine getting that % variation in a quote to service your car) in a report from the government's own task force which was suppressed when the data was needed. It is also the case that the bill payer does not pick up the tab for investing in such infrastructure instead of shareholders - unless the bill payer is also to be awarded shares? Surely MPs with any experience of the commercial world knew this.
We understand that the impact on water bills is now estimated as an increase of £19 to £58 per year or about £1 per week to treat sewage properly and protect our waters and our future.
This link takes you to an interesting 2 minute read from an ex-MP if you are interested in more detail.
And here are the latest letters to our MPs for the Windrush Valley
What can you do? Keep calm and express your view before and after the vote. The whole Environment Bill is deeply flawed but we know that a well informed public is formidable force for good.
WASP will do its best to make sure you are well informed.
Thanks for the great support we have received from so many people, including councillors Conservative, Labour , Green and Lib Dem.