Residents need to know the truth given so many misleading reports in the media regarding MPs voting on sewage discharges over the last year, especially as it has cropped up more recently in letters to the paper.

For the avoidance of doubt, I most certainly did not vote to allow water companies to pump sewage into our river.

What I did vote for, was a package of measures to reduce pollution levels in rivers and seas and tackle storm overflows.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Saffron Walden MP Kemi BadenochSaffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch (Image: UK Government)

For those who still believe that MPs would want sewage dumped in rivers, I would ask a simple question: Why on earth would we vote to pump sewage into the same water that the people who elect us drink from? The same water that my little children drink from and bathe with?

There is no special water source for the exclusive use of MPs and their families.

So, why is it so many people are putting out so much misinformation and untruth? Of course, some of it is politically motivated, some of it comes from a lack of understanding on what votes in Parliament are about.

Often people oversimplify issues or have become so cynical in an increasingly polarised society, they believe only the very worst of anything done by elected officials.

My ministerial colleagues and I are clear that the current use of sewage discharges is unacceptable and tackling storm overflows is a priority.


In an ideal world I would vote for an immediate ban on discharges, however it isn’t practicable. Immediately banning storm overflows means sewage and rain overloading the sewers and backing up into your homes and businesses.

Secondly independent research estimates that an attempt to reduce discharges to zero immediately could cost each household up to £28,500, almost £600 billion in total. This is four times the schools, policing, and defence budgets put together.

Storm overflows have always been part of the sewage network, and this is the first Government to take steps to address them.

It is dismaying that when the Government passes legislation to tackle the current levels of sewage discharges, it is spun into the disingenuous claim that the vote was 'MPs vote to dump sewage in our rivers'.

This is why people have no trust in politics, because there are consistent and deliberate attempts to malign the work that officials and politicians do. We have to ensure that the truth prevails.

The Government’s approach is an ambitious and costed plan of legally binding targets over 15 years alongside increased funding and investments to help solve the root cause of the problem - our outdated Victorian infrastructure systems.

Furthermore, the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan, which I voted for, will require water companies to deliver their largest ever environmental infrastructure investment - £56 billion capital investment.

Attention grabbing headlines, misinformation and misunderstanding on social media can be difficult to cut through, so do contact me directly to find out exactly what I am working on in Parliament.