Water companies have no plans to stop dumping raw sewage in Gloucestershire’s rivers.

In 2020 Gloucestershire County Council established the Rivers Task Group to investigate pollution locally and last week, councillors interviewed the county’s three largest water companies about the extent of pollution in Gloucestershire's waterways and their plans to reduce it.

During the meeting, following questions from councillor Paul Hodgkinson, Severn Trent and Wessex Water both admitted they have no plans to ever stop dumping sewage whilst Thames Water said they intend to stop this practice by 2050.

Councillor Hodgkinson said: “It was incredibly disappointing to hear that two of the biggest water companies in Gloucestershire have no plans to ever stop dumping raw sewage into our rivers, while a third plans to continue releases for the next thirty years!

“It was similarly illuminating that, under questioning, none of the companies believed that the Government’s Environment Bill would force them to change their behaviour.

“Residents will be rightly disturbed that, despite the public outcry, these water companies haven’t reconsidered their operations and that the celebrated Environment Bill will not clean up our rivers.

“We will continue our work to see how best we can force polluters to adapt and how best to publicise the pollution present in our rivers.”

Today, Tuesday November 23, Severn Trent has announced it is bringing forwards its plans to clean up rivers by 16 years following the launch of an investigation by government and regulators.

The company has said it will meet obligations to improve rivers under the Environment Act within nine years, rather than the previous 25-year timeframe.

A Severn Trent Spokesman said: “There has been much discussion recently about the quality of our rivers and coastline.

“Rivers are key to our supply chain and, although we don’t own our region’s rivers, we take our role in protecting and caring for them seriously.

“Our rivers are currently the healthiest they have been since the Industrial Revolution, but more needs to be done.

“That is why we plan to fulfil all our actions set out in the Environment Act to improve river quality in a nine-year timeframe, rather than the 25-year target.”

Click here for the responses of all three water companies.