Skip to main content
EnvironmentNationalNews and viewsParliamentPortsmouth

City MP calls on Government to take action to save Portsmouth’s sea from sewage following ‘Brown Flag’ award

By 21 May 2024May 25th, 2024No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP has written to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs to call on the Government to take urgent action as it is revealed that a Portsmouth beach, Southsea East, has been awarded the ‘Brown Flag’ award for being one of the nation’s 13 ‘dirtiest’ beaches.

The Brown Flag award indicates beaches rated as ‘poor’ by the Environment Agency due to bacteria such as e-coli from sewage and other waste.

Recent analysis has found that the number of people admitted to hospital for water-borne diseases has skyrocketed in recent years as sewage continues to pollute Britain’s rivers, lakes and seas. Cases of waterborne diseases – including dysentery and Weil’s disease – have increased by nearly 60% since 2010.

In his latest lobbying of the Secretary of State, the City MP expressed serious concern for the health risks to Portsmouth people, as well as the ongoing impact on their ability to enjoy the precious natural environment on their doorstep.

Mr Morgan reiterated his calls for the Government to finally take action and back Labour’s plans to bring forward legislation tough enough to clean up polluted waterways in Portsmouth and across the country.

It follows relentless action by Mr Morgan to clean up Portsmouth’s dirty bathing waters, including recently meeting with the Environment Agency and Portsmouth Universities School of Biological Sciences, questioning Ministers in parliament, convening a public meeting on the issue and working alongside local organisations and charities to hold government and industry to account.

The Government has had multiple opportunities to bring forward legislation to treat the issue with the urgency it deserves.

Labour is currently the only party backing policies that would crack down hard on polluting water companies with tough new sanctions, committing to:

  • Give the water regulator powers to block the payment of any bonuses until water bosses have cleaned up their filth. We don’t need the dither and delay of a consultation; we need immediate action.
  • Water bosses who oversee repeated law-breaking will face criminal charges.
  • An end to self-monitoring and forcing all companies to monitor every single water outlet under independent supervision so companies can no longer cover up illegal sewage dumping.
  • Introduction of severe and automatic fines that water companies can’t afford to ignore for illegal sewage discharges.

Commenting, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“The Conservatives just folded their arms and looked the other way while water companies pumped a tidal wave of raw sewage into Portsmouth’s precious bathing waters – putting lives at risk. 

“The next Labour government will put the water companies under special measures until our water is safe again.

“We will give the regulator tough new powers to make law-breaking water bosses face criminal charges and ban the payment of their multi-million pound bonuses until they clean up their toxic filth.”

Mr Morgan will be continuing with his campaign against sewage dumping in the city’s bathing waters, with an upcoming Cuppa and Chat on protecting Portsmouth’s precious environment giving constituents the opportunity to discuss the state of Portsmouth’s environment and what actions can be taken to better protect it.

For more information and how to sign up, please visit here.