Kingston MP Ed Davey calls for new 'sewage tax' to end dumping in London rivers

By Ellie Brown - Local Democracy Reporter

8th Nov 2021 | Local News

Kingston MP Ed Davey says a 'sewage tax' could help protect London rivers from the dumping of waste (Image: Liberal Democrats)
Kingston MP Ed Davey says a 'sewage tax' could help protect London rivers from the dumping of waste (Image: Liberal Democrats)

Kingston and Surbiton MP Ed Davey has called for a sewage tax that could raise £70 million to protect London rivers from sewage spills.

The Lib-Dem leader said the money would be raised from taxing the profits of Thames Water, which made £433 million pre-tax profit in 2020.

The money would go towards preventing raw sewage from polluting local rivers and lakes in the capital.

The sewage tax would also tax the profits of other water companies, which last year made pre-tax profits of £2.2 billion, according to the Lib Dems.

The plan would be a 16 per cent tax on pre-tax profits, giving a £340 million fund to fix the UK's sewage system.

The River Trust revealed more than half of England's rivers are currently failing to pass cleanliness tests due to water companies actions.

Conservative MPs voted against measures to ban water companies dumping sewage in rivers the last time it was debated in the House of Commons.

Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "Pumping raw sewage into our treasured rivers and lakes leaves a bad taste in the mouth, particularly when these companies are raking in millions of pounds in profits.

"The whole thing stinks. Water companies need to clean up after their mess.

He added: "Why should taxpayers be left to foot the bill for water companies who have shown utter disregard for our local environments?"

A government spokesperson told BBC News the amount of sewage discharge by water companies into rivers was "not acceptable".

The spokesman added: "We have made it crystal clear to water companies that they must significantly reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows as a priority.

"If we do not start to see significant improvements, we will not hesitate to take action through the new measures directly on water companies in the Environment Bill.

"We have provided over £3bn of investment to tackle pollution in rivers and we expect to see results."

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