Viral Video Shows Sewage Pumping Into Cornish Sea – And Minister Blames People's Own Water Pipes

"Actually, we can help, you know, as individuals," Mark Spencer claimed.
Mark Spencer was pressed over sewage issues on Monday morning
Mark Spencer was pressed over sewage issues on Monday morning
James Manning via PA Wire/PA Images

A viral clip shows sewage is still being pumped into British waters at an astounding rate, but a minister somehow blamed individual home plumbing.

St Agnes beach was filled with sewage on Sunday morning, with a large section of the picturesque water flooded with brown liquid.

The overflow triggered several sewage warnings around the Cornwall coast, and comes several months after concerns about polluted waterways in the summer.

However, South West Water blamed a storm overflow system which was triggered after heavy rainfall.

As a minister for the environment, food and agriculture department (DEFRA), Mark Spencer was shown the pretty bleak clip of sewage being pumped into the sea from the Cornwall coast on BBC Breakfast.

Asked what the government planned to do, Spencer replied: “Well, it’s something that we need to stop, but it is again, when we get huge downpours of rain it is quite a challenge to deal with that volume of water within those sewage facilities.”

He then pivoted to talk about individual homes, although sewage management is usually the responsibility of local water companies.

He said: “Actually, we can help, you know, as individuals if you check where your down right goes, your water spout off your roof, it’s very important it goes into a top water drain and not into the sewage system.

“Actually, one of the challenges is, as people build an extension on their house of put a conservatory up, they drop the down right into the sewage system, and not into a soak away or a top water drain.

“So one thing you could do as an individual is check your own down rights and see where they go...”

Presenter Jon Kay jumped in: “OK, but what can you as a government do?

“You’ve been in government for 12 years, this doesn’t seem to be getting better, it doesn’t seem to be caused by a massive storm yesterday.”

Spencer said his department was now “measuring” the outflow, so it can detect any improvements, that the maximum amount of fines water companies can be charged has been increased, and that “billions” of pounds have been invested to fix it.

He continued: “We all acknowledge that we have to do it, but it is a huge, huge problem because there are lots of houses up and down the country which that sewage needs to be dealt with. I acknowledge that we need to go a little bit quicker, and we’re working with the water companies to try and do that.”


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