Conservative MPs under pressure to vote for Labour’s plan to end sewage scandal

Norwich North’s Labour Parliamentary candidate has today joined Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, environmental campaigner Feargal Sharkey and Labour Parliamentary Candidates across the country in writing an open letter to Conservative MPs, ramping up the pressure  to vote for Labour’s Opposition Day motion, which paves the way for Labour’s Bill to end the  sewage scandal. 

Alice Macdonald, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich North, has signed the letter and is urging local Conservative MPs to take action.

“Across Norwich and Norfolk we have beautiful rivers and beaches but there are real concerns about sewage getting into our waters. The Conservative Government has not taken the action needed to stop this scandal. I’m calling on Tory MPs across Norfolk to back Labour’s plan so that people here can enjoy our waters without worrying.”

The letter, critical of Conservatives who during the passage of the Environment Bill “walked through the voting lobbies to continue the Tory sewage scandal” by blocking Labour-backed amendments to end sewage dumping, accuses Tory MPs of showing disregard for the environment, for public health and for businesses that rely on the “beauty and nature of Britain to attract visitors and thrive.”

Alice Macdonald with the River Wensum in the background.

The open letter comes as Labour prepares to force a binding vote in the House of Commons to introduce its Water Quality (Sewage Discharge) Bill.


Labour will use an Opposition Day motion to provide for parliamentary time on Tuesday 2nd May 2023 to allow for the passage of the Water Quality (Sewage Discharge) Bill, introduced by Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon.

The Bill, – Labour’s plan to end the Tory sewage scandal by 2030 – seeks to legally underpin four crucial reduction measures:

  • setting a legal requirement for the monitoring of all sewage outlets and penalties for failures in adhering to monitoring requirements;

  • imposing automatic fines for sewage dumping;

  • implementing a legally binding target to reduce sewage dumping events;

  • and a requirement for the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for the reduction of sewage discharges and regular economic impact assessments.

Labour’s intervention comes in the absence of a credible government plan to end sewage dumping, with the letter warning that “Tory MPs voting down the Opposition Day Motion or failing to support the current version of the Bill,  will be voting to for a second time to continue the Tory sewage scandal.”


Earlier this month Labour analysis of Environment Agency data revealed that since 2016, a new sewage dumping event has taken place an average of every two-and-a-half minutes, with rivers, lakes, seas, and beaches having faced a staggering 1,276 years’ worth of raw sewage over just a seven-year period.


Jim McMahon OBE MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary said:


“It’s clear that we have a Tory government that has run out of road, only regurgitating old announcements that do nothing to end sewage dumping. That’s why Labour has brought forward legislation to clean up our water system.  


“The onus is on Tory MPs to support Labour’s Bill which will put an end to sewage dumping once and for all or alternatively, once again vote to continue the Tory sewage scandal.


“The next Labour Government will build a better Britain and end the Tory sewage scandal, delivering mandatory monitoring on all sewage outlets, introducing automatic fines for discharges, setting ambitious targets for stopping systematic sewage dumping and ensuring that water bosses are held to account for negligence.”