Cole-Hamilton reveals constituencies with most sewage spills and those with no monitoring

28 Jun 2024
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today used a campaign stop in Edinburgh to call for Scotland’s sewage network to be upgraded and for a blue flag system for Scotland’s rivers to be introduced.

His call comes as new analysis by his party revealed that 14 out of 57 Westminster constituencies in Scotland didn’t have a single sewage monitoring point.

Across Scotland in 2023 sewage was dumped 21,660 times, an increase of 10% on 2022. However, the problem is likely to be far worse because, unlike in England, only a small fraction of sewage discharges are monitored.

Of the constituencies which were monitored, Argyll, Bute and South Lochaber had the highest number of sewage dumps with 3,768 in 2023. Aberdeen South saw the highest volume of sewage dumped with 10,248,090 cubic metres of sewage dumped.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched plans for a Clean Water Act that would see:

• Scotland’s Victorian sewage network updated;

• Every sewage dump monitored and published with binding targets for their reduction;

• A blue flag system for Scotland’s rivers;

• A complete ban on the release of sewage in protected areas such as bathing waters.

• The proposals for Scotland are part of a UK-wide campaign by the Liberal Democrats to clean up waterways and get governments to take action.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"Every SNP candidate should take a look the figures for their constituency and start demanding their government at Holyrood takes this crisis more seriously.

"SNP ministers have become spin doctors for the government-owned water company and outdated standards. Bosses are taking home bumper bonuses while millions of litres of sewage gets dumped into our rivers, lochs and beaches.

"Sewage was dumped 59 times a day last year, yet even that figure is likely to be a huge underestimate since so few overflow points are actually monitored. Monitoring is so lacking that a quarter of constituencies in Scotland have no monitoring whatsoever. In England, at least there is proper monitoring in place so that we know the scale of the problem.

"We want a Clean Water Act for Scotland to update the sewage network, proper monitoring to find all the dumping and a complete ban on this filthy practice in protected areas such as bathing waters.

"Liberal Democrats up and down the UK have led the campaign to turn the tide on the sewage scandal. If you elect a Liberal Democrat MP you will get a hardworking local champion who is focused on getting the sewage out of our rivers and winning the change our country desperately needs."

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