Top of the Poops

Research by the Top of the Poops shows that our rivers were polluted with sewage on 431,850 separate occasions in 2021. These sewage discharges into the rivers we love lasted a staggering 3.2 million hours!

The Hexham Constituency saw 2864 discharges into our rivers. These lasted 22,670 hours with 95 different locations polluted by water companies.

Professor Chris Whitty, speaking in 2022, described sewage in our rivers as a ‘growing public health problem‘:

“Use of our rivers for recreation and exercise is something to celebrate and encourage. Children have always played in waterways and always will, irrespective of what notices are put up next to them. People of all ages use freshwater waterways such as rivers for recreation including swimming and various forms of boating. During lockdown many people took to swimming in rivers and have continued since. Our rivers, seas and waterways should therefore be free from sewage to reduce risk to the public. There are 2 major issues to tackle. Both have solutions.

The first is raw sewage discharge from the sewage network and in particular storm overflows…

The second major issue is coliforms from the continuous normal discharge from sewage works. Whilst raw sewage is not discharged into waterways from these, viable bacteria and viruses are, as part of normal operations”

Virus, parasites and bacteria, including Adenoviruses, Norovirus, Rotavirus, Salmoella, E. Coli and Listeria, can all lurk in sewage contaminated water. Sewage water can also have a devastating impact on the aquatic life and the natural environment.

In January 2023 Guy Opperman, the Conservative MP for Hexham voted against Lords Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill. This would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage”.

Meanwhile the privately owned Northumbrian Water, which is ultimately owned by the Cayman Islands-registered Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings Limited, made profits of £188 million in the year ending March 2022.

So the next time you’re walking along the Tyne or one of our other beautiful rivers and you smell a stink, remember who put us Top of the Poops!

At the next election make sure you vote Labour.


UPDATE 31st March: The BBC report that a ‘toxic cocktail of many pollutants’ was released into Britain’s rivers for 1.75million hours in 2022!