The Welsh Affairs Committee will be holding a one of two evidence sessions today to examine the quality of water in Wales following widespread media coverage of sewage discharges.
In 2020, there were 105,751 sewage spills into waterways across Wales recorded by event duration monitors (EDMs). Spills from combined storm overflows harm river health by introducing biological and chemical pollutants, changing water chemistry and polluting waterways with litter. High levels of bacteria pose risks to public health and public concern over river health, public health and the aesthetics of pollution has a negative social impact.
The UK lags behind other European countries in water quality, and in 2018 the proportion of bathing water sites rated excellent was 63.2 per cent compared to a European average of 85.1 per cent.
During this evidence session, likely topics that will be discussed include:
• How the Welsh and UK governments are tackling the problem of sewage discharges from storm overflows.
• The situation in Wales compared to the rest of the UK
• The extent of unpermitted sewage spills in Wales
• Whether reforms to storm overflows under the Environment Act 2021 that apply to England should be extended to Wales
• The available solutions to untreated sewage discharges.
Witnesses will include Angela Jones (environmental campaigne), Jon Khoo, Chair (Surfers against Sewage) and Gail Davies-Walsh (Chief Executive, Afonydd Cymru).