17 beaches in Dorset have just been marked ‘no swim zones’ after raw sewage was allowed to flow into the sea following storms.

During the same week MPs -including the Conservative who represents Poole - voted against a proposal from the House of Lords that would ban this practice.

The short-term problem appears to stem from a lack of chemicals at the treatment centres, but this is being made worse by the lack of investment over many years which misleading to both storm drains and sewers beyond their capacity and overflows in Poole Harbour and along beaches being used.

Millie said: “We met with Wessex Water who told us that they were ‘allowed’ to use each of these overflows up to ten times per year and we challenged what they were doing to upgrade the system. “They told us that they were ‘collecting data’ now to establish where they should invest. We challenged the frequency of outflows, but they had no answer, and we called for infrastructure improvements.”

The Environment Act is a key piece of legislation and anything that will strengthen the responsibilities on utilities companies to invest before paying dividends on profits should be considered.

MPs were due to vote again on Wednesday, but due to backlash from the public and campaigners, the government U-Turned and have decided to table an amendment that "will be further strengthened with an amendment that will see a duty enshrined in law to ensure water companies secure a progressive
reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows". Millie added: “It really shouldn’t have taken public outcry to change the
government’s mind. It’s particularly concerning that MPs like our locally, who represent areas with precious coastline were willing to see more overflows as climate change inevitably takes its toll.”

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