Management of water is the responsibility of a public company, Scottish Water, but under the SNP Government sewage spills have been increasing and monitoring of storm overflows lags well behind elsewhere in England and Wales. Meanwhile, Scottish Water are hiking bills for households, despite building up a cash balance of over half a billion.
Our natural environment, rivers and oceans and their biodiversity must be protected as far as possible and it is clear, in light of the latest analysis by the Marine Conservation Society, that not enough is being done in this.
Scottish Water undertook in 2021 to install more than 1000 new storm monitors by 2024 and a Freedom of Information Request to Scottish Water showed that as of March 2023 no new storm monitors had at that point been fitted.
As Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for Environment and Biodiversity, my colleague, Mercedes Villalba MSP, has raised this in the past with the Scottish Government and more recently in the chamber with the First Minister and you can view his response here. The First Minister advises that the work will commence from Summer 2023 and will be completed in 2024 which is frustrating given the urgency of the situation.
The fact that our public water infrastructure cannot cope with our weather without endangering biodiversity long-term, shows a significant failure in investment and management of our public water systems.
The Scottish Government must also address the issue of sewage related debris and address the issue of single-use plastic found in sanitary products, much of which is ending up on our beaches.
The volume of sewage pollution is unacceptable. Scottish Labour’s The Scottish Labour Net Zero and Environment team will continue to engage with SEPA and Scottish Water and pushing them to address monitoring and overflows as a matter of urgency and in the Parliament we will continue to hold the SNP-Green Scottish Government to account over their inaction on this disgrace.
Thank you for taking the time to raise important issue.