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Stanley Johnson slams Government for allowing sewage dumping

Boris’s father slams his son’s Government for allowing sewage dumping across Britain’s beaches as Stanley Johnson – in a radio interview with his daughter Rachel Johnson – also suggests Brexit is to blame

  • Stanley Johnson blames the Government for sewage being pumped on beaches
  • The PM’s father also suggests Brexit is at fault for dirtying of Britain’s waters
  • He attacks ministers in LBC radio interview with his daughter Rachel Johnson 

Stanley Johnson, the Prime Minister’s father, has blamed his son’s own Government for sewage being pumped into Britain’s rivers and beaches.

The environmental campaigner claimed Boris Johnson’s administration was guilty of ‘not pressing this matter as hard as it should have done’.

Mr Johnson, a former MEP, also suggested Brexit was at fault for the dirtying of Britain’s waters.

Dozens of pollution warnings were issued for beaches and swimming spots in England and Wales following recent heavy rain that overwhelmed the sewage system.

It has added to growing public outrage at the volume of raw or partially treated sewage pumped into rivers and coastal waters.

Labour have pointed to Environment Agency figures showing raw sewage has been pumped into British waterways for a total of more than nine million hours since 2016.

It has also been claimed that monitors being used for measuring the amount of sewage being pumped into the sea across the UK are faulty or not even installed.

In a radio interview with his daughter Rachel Johnson, also the PM’s sister, Stanley Johnson pointed the finger at the Government

Labour have said Environment Agency figures show raw sewage has been pumped into British waterways for a total of more than nine million hours since 2016.

Dozens of pollution warnings were issued for beaches and swimming spots in England and Wales following recent heavy rain that overwhelmed the sewage system

There is growing public outrage at the volume of raw or partially treated sewage pumped into rivers and coastal waters

Mr Johnson, a former MEP, also suggested Brexit was at fault for the dirtying of Britain’s waters in recent years

In an interview with his daughter Rachel Johnson, also the PM’s sister, Mr Johnson pointed the finger at the Government.

‘I would say we have to blame the Government for not pressing this matter as hard as it should have done,’ he told Ms Johnson’s LBC radio show.

‘And, of course, absent the EU push as well you can understand how the Government has felt able to not push this thing as it should have pushed it.’

Mr Johnson also linked the growing scandal to Brexit, as he noted how Britain had been known as the ‘dirty man of Europe’ prior to joining the EU.

‘We really did get a clean-up,’ he said of the impact of the UK’s entry into the bloc on Britain’s shorelines.

Mr Johnson claimed Brussels rules ‘transformed the quality of bathing water around the whole of Europe’, including the UK.

He also called for Britain to rejoin EU efforts aimed at monitoring water pollution. 

‘What I would like to see is Britain to go back – not to go back, obviously, into the EU – but to go back into an agency that gives us the statistical evidence,’ he added.

Ministers are facing growing calls to clamp down on water firms who are being criticised for not investing money back into the UK’s water infrastructure.

In a report published in July, the Environment Agency said water company bosses should face jail for the worst pollution incidents, describing the sector’s performance in 2021 as the ‘worst we have seen for years’.

Boris Johnson’s Government is under growing pressure to deal with the problem of sewage dumping

The Liberal Democrats have pointed to Environment Agency data showing water companies are failing to monitor sewage discharges.

The party said water companies have either installed Event Duration Monitors (EDMs) – devices which measure the number and length of sewage dumps from storm overflows – that are frequently faulty or have not installed devices at all.

In total, the party found 24 per cent of sewage discharges went unmonitored last year, while 1,802 monitors installed by water companies across the UK did not work for at least 90 per cent of the time.

Lib Dem environment spokesperson Tim Farron said: ‘These water companies could be guilty of gross negligence by failing to install sewage monitors.

‘This is a national scandal and these new figures stink of a cover-up. Britain’s seaside resorts are being swamped by foul sewage yet the Government is nowhere to be found.

‘Why on Earth are Conservative ministers letting them get away with this?’

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