Advertisement - Content continues below
Environment

This map reveals how much raw sewage is being dumped into your local river

Sewage discharges are shockingly common across England. This map can help you check how polluted your local river is.

The shocking extent of raw sewage discharges into England’s rivers has been revealed by recent investigations, with over 400,000 pollution incidents recorded in 2020 alone. 

Some discharges are legal, with water companies permitted to dump sewage following extreme weather conditions or when their infrastructure is close to capacity.

But data analysed by BBC’s Panorama has shown many companies are breaching the conditions of their permits and dumping raw sewage into rivers illegally.

A map has been created by The Rivers Trust, using data from event duration monitors showing the length of time over which sewage was dumped into rivers across the country.

You can either type in your postcode or zoom into the map to see the location of storm overflow pipes near you and find out how much sewage has been discharged from them. 

Advertisement - Content continues below
Advertisement - Content continues below

It comes after the Environmental Audit Committee last week led an evidence session on water quality in rivers. During the session executives from England’s largest privatised water companies were questioned about their responsibility for discharges and how they intend to stop them.

When asked whether they would be willing to work under a target to end sewage spills by 2030, all five bosses declined to commit, stating they had an “ambition” to do so but would need more investment. 

It was also claimed that technology with the ability to measure the volume of sewage discharges isn’t currently available, in spite of monitoring likely to become a legal requirement in the upcoming Environment Bill. 

In a bid to inform the wider public about the amount of sewage in rivers, the Rivers Trust produced the map showing where sewage discharges are taking place.

Currently, storm overflow pipes where sewage is discharged from are either unmonitored or fitted with an “event duration monitor” which measures the start and end time of spills. 

The Big Issue Shop

Eco-friendly gift hampers that make a positive impact

The Big Issue has collaborated with Social Stories Club to create limited edition gift hampers. Packed full of treats made by social ventures, this hamper would make the perfect gift for the festive season.

The Rivers Trust hopes their map will help swimmers make informed decisions about safe locations for a dip.

They recommend not swimming downstream of the pipes, especially after wet weather.

The trust additionally hopes the map will incentivise members of the public to write to their MP about the poor state of their river or join a local campaign group to lobby against discharges. 

Advertisement - Content continues below

Support The Big Issue and our vendors this Christmas

Every time you buy a copy of The Big Issue, subscribe or donate, you are helping our vendors to work their way out of poverty by providing 'a hand up not a hand out.' You’re helping Big Issue vendors achieve their #BigWish

Recommended for you

Read All
'Climate change needs to be at the heart of all policymaking': Ed Miliband still has hope
Climate Change

'Climate change needs to be at the heart of all policymaking': Ed Miliband still has hope

Green business: Four expert tips for making your company sustainable
Sustainability

Green business: Four expert tips for making your company sustainable

Have yourself a sustainable Christmas with WHSmith
Sponsored

Have yourself a sustainable Christmas with WHSmith

Meet the fashion editor, pig farmer and aircraft engineer who quit to fight the climate crisis
Activism

Meet the fashion editor, pig farmer and aircraft engineer who quit to fight the climate crisis

Most Popular

Read All
Video showing Boris Johnson repeatedly 'lying' to parliament hits 40 million views
1.

Video showing Boris Johnson repeatedly 'lying' to parliament hits 40 million views

Legacy benefits freeze left disabled people living on ‘historically’ low payments, court hears
2.

Legacy benefits freeze left disabled people living on ‘historically’ low payments, court hears

'Noel Gallagher was mega hungover and Will.i.am kept walking off' - The stories behind Big Issue photoshoots
3.

'Noel Gallagher was mega hungover and Will.i.am kept walking off' - The stories behind Big Issue photoshoots

Plans to remove British citizenship without notice 'would repeat Windrush mistakes'
4.

Plans to remove British citizenship without notice 'would repeat Windrush mistakes'

Support The Big Issue and our vendors this Christmas