What just happened?
Tuesday saw a game of party politics being played out by Labour and the Conservatives in Parliament with sewage pollution being the football. The loser was once again the environment and public as pollution remained triumphantly profitable at the end of the day.
However, this was the first real glimpse of how important all parties now view the sewage scandal and that is down to all of the people like you who have responded to the revelations of profiteering and regulatory failure exposed by WASP and our co-campaigners and have supported us all across the country. The growing number of people, sick of being treated with contempt has taken this issue to where we know it has to be to get anything done. It is a voting issue and as the Lib Dems recently stated - It's bigger than potholes! You can't imagine how happy we were with that headline..
But where did yesterday leave us? Government has enshrined its Storm Overflow Reduction Plan in law. You may be wondering why that might make the slightest difference when the water industry is routinely breaking the law on an epidemic scale but is being allowed to get away with it by the same government, and you would have a point.
The following photo is of untreated sewage being dumped from Clanfield Sewage works which routinely dumps sewage illegally and has done for years as it is cheaper than fixing the problems that cause the pollution - cheaper because the Environment Agency takes no effective deterrent action in this case and countless others across the Country.
Witney, Fairford, Bourton on the Water, Standlake, Andoversford, South Leigh, the list is way too long to put on the blog and it is far cheaper to risk the occasional prosecution and even take a multi-million pound fine than it is to upgrade these sewage works or to fix deep-seated infrastructure leaks - So, guess what? The companies - not just Thames Water - all of them. choose to carry on taking out the dividends and paying CEOs ridiculous bonuses for running monopoly companies from which you, the billpayers, cannot escape.
By the way don't believe the Thames Water claim that shareholders have taken no dividends in 5 years, it is a smoke and mirrors claim.
So when we hear of another 'costed plan' - (since when did the government have to cost a plan for people breaking the law to get them to stop? ) to sort out sewage pollution we ask ourselves; is pollution still going to be profitable? Because if it is, the regulation is a failure and that is where we are today - regulation remains a failure and is protecting only the shareholders and senior executives, not the environment or public.
On the positive front, the pressure is on for real reform and even investigation of the scandals and scams that have been perpetrated on the billpayer and there is a prize for whichever party finally comes up with an approach that will truly work. It's bigger than potholes and from what we have seen lately, that's BIG!