Thank you for contacting me about the Environment Bill.
There are three major rivers running through my West Worcestershire constituency and I am acutely aware of the need to properly manage these during serious weather events, and also to protect them for leisure users throughout the year.
I was also a sponsor of the Private Members’ Bill brought forward by my colleague and neighbour, Philip Dunne MP, whose expertise has been adopted into the current wording of the Bill.
I was pleased to support the Environment Bill in the House of Commons last week but surprised to see some of the mis-informed social media commentary regarding this issue over the weekend.
I am including a very useful fact sheet that helps to clarify some of the issues raised and explain why MPs chose to reject some of the amendments proposed by the House of Lords. More widely, I am encouraged that between 2020 and 2025, water companies will invest £3.1 billion in storm overflow improvements. This includes £1.9bn on the Thames Tideway Tunnel super sewer, as well as £1.2bn of other investment throughout England. £144m is additional investment after a call to action from the Storm Overflows Taskforce. You may be especially interested to learn that one of the amendments would have imposed a £5,000 increase in your household’s water bill and I did not want to impose that on you.
The Government has outlined significant action to deliver real reductions caused by storm overflows. Water quality remains an absolute priority for me, and I know it is for my constituents as well.
I would like to assure you that I am confident that the Government continues to listen to all viewpoints as this important legislation completes its passage through both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Thank you for contacting me on this important matter.