Bath Voice News: as Thames Water teeters on the brink of collapse figures show Wessex Water discharged sewage a 41,453 times last year as all political parties criticise the situation

By Harry Mottram: New figures released by the Environment Agency have shown that Wessex Water, which covers Bath, discharged sewage a staggering 41,453 times last year, an 89% rise compared to 2022 – reports the office of Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath.

Sewage was discharged into local waterways by Wessex Water for 372,341 hours last year, a 187% increase on 2022 while in England as a whole water companies in England data shows raw sewage was discharged for more than 3.6m hours into rivers and seas last year  – an 105% increase on the previous 12 months. The scale of the discharges of untreated waste made 2023 the worst year for storm water pollution reported The Guardian.

Wera Hobhouse said: “It is a complete scandal that filthy sewage is being pumped into Bath’s rivers and waterways. Our community should not be forced to put up with this any longer yet time and again this Conservative government has voted against tougher action on sewage dumping.”

Sky News reported that a spokesperson for industry body Water UK said: “These results are unacceptable and demonstrate exactly why we urgently need regulatory approval to upgrade our system so it can better cope with the weather. We will be ensuring the Environment Agency closely scrutinise these findings and take enforcement action where necessary.”

The Bath MP has made her views known but the issue has become a headache for the Government ahead of an election later this year as Labour are pledging to ban bonuses for water company bosses with talk of renationalisation.

The Green Party has been vocal in their criticism of the water companies. They said: “People are rightly angry that they are being told to reduce water usage while millions of gallons leak out of pipes because the water companies would rather pay dividends to shareholders and high salaries to senior managers than invest in infrastructure. It is now time to bring water companies back into public ownership so we can make the investments necessary to secure clean water supplies for the future and to eliminate pollution from raw sewage. The Green Party is the only political party in England and Wales advocating such a response to the current crisis.”

And former punk rocker Feargal Sharkey now known for his campaigning for clean rivers said: “Every single river is polluted… water companies have exploited us as customers, they’ve ram-raided £72b in cash from our pockets & destroyed almost every river in the country… we should all remember that the next time we’re at a ballot box.”

For the Conservatives Michael Gove said: “I think the leadership of Thames Water has been a disgrace. I think for years now we have seen customers of Thames Water taken advantage of by successive management teams that have been taking out profits and not investing as they should have been. When I was environment secretary I called this out. They haven’t changed their ways. I have zero sympathy for the leadership of Thames Water. In my own constituency I have seen how they have behaved in a high-handed and arrogant way towards the consumers who pay their bills.

“So the answer is not to hit the consumers, the answer is for the management team to look to their own approach and ask themselves why they are in this difficult situation, and of course the answer is because of serial mismanagement for which they must carry the can.”

Bath Voice Monthly Newspaper is distributed free to thousands of homes and some supermarkets – distributed from the first of the month. Harry Mottram is the News Editor

Email him at Bath website:
Bath Facebook:  Also on Twitter: Read the newspaper online at : To advertise to thousands of Bathonians call Erica on 07402 441485 or email her on

Harry Mottram is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Telegram, TikTok and Mobile: 07789 864769