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Comment on the Government's Plan for Water

Today the government published its Plan for Water. Led by Philip Dunne, CEN MPs have played an integral role in campaigning for many of the policies included in the plan via the CEN Water Manifesto which was published in November of last year.


Responding to the Government's Plan for Water today, the Conservative Environment Network's Nature Spokesperson Kitty Thompson commented:


“This is a welcome and sensible strategy to tackle many of the causes of water pollution and insecurity that face our society today and in the future. It is great to see that the government has adopted many of the recommendations included in the CEN Water Manifesto that were called for by our Caucus members and civil society at large.


“This plan will deliver improvements to our water quality and security, responding to growing public concern about the state of our waterways. But there remains much more to do to clean up our rivers and coastlines, particularly to reduce surface water runoff from roads and existing homes, to tackle the ‘fat’ in ‘fatberg’, to designate more bathing waters, and to make sure that house building can go ahead while still tackling nutrient pollution.”


CEN MP Philip Dunne commented:


“Surface water run-off in periods of heavy rainfall increases the pressure we put on our sewerage networks. If we are to tackle sewage discharges holistically and sustainably, water companies must be involved in fixing the problem by making them statutory consultees on large new developments, especially where these add strain to existing drainage and treatment systems. I am glad that the government is taking forward our recommendation to do this, as Ministers had confirmed to me they would.”


CEN MP Selaine Saxby commented:


“Farmers are custodians of our countryside. For too long arduous planning policies have held our farmers back from building the reservoirs and slurry stores they need to be water secure and to protect local waterways. I welcome the government’s decision to consult on the removal of planning barriers for on-farm reservoirs and funding for slurry storage.


“As we continue to ask more of farmers in order to reach our new targets for water and wildlife, the government must ensure that post-Brexit farming subsidies offer sufficient funding to deliver them.”


CEN MP Anna Firth commented:


“Plastic wet wipes block our pipes, flooding homes with sewage, releasing microplastics, and costing millions of pounds to clear up. That’s why I welcome the government’s decision to ban plastic wet wipes.


“But, plastic or not, all wet wipes should go in the bin, not the toilet. The same goes for other commonly-flushed items like sanitary products, nappies, and cotton wool.We need a standard label for these products so the public can play their part in helping to unblock our sewers.”


CEN MP Alberto Costa commented:


“When people think of plastic pollution, clothing is not always the first thing that comes to mind. But synthetic fibres like polyester leach microplastics into our natural environment with each wash.


“I am pleased that the government is calling on washing machine manufacturers to develop microplastic filters in their products. A date must now also be set to make this mandatory for all new washing machines.”


CEN MP Alicia Kearns commented:


“Reservoirs can be sanctuaries for biodiversity whilst bolstering our water security. Rutland Water in my constituency shows exactly how this can be done and the benefits to the local economy it can deliver. Alongside the biodiversity net gain requirement laid out in the Environment Act, which we need across the country.”


CEN MP Robert Courts commented:


“Building more houses and protecting our natural environment are two of the most important goals for our society. Sustainable urban drainage systems will help to ensure that tackling one of these does not come at the expense of the other. The government is right to be exploring how to mandate sustainable drainage in all new properties and should be as ambitious as possible with their final proposals.”


CEN MP Danny Kruger commented:


“Communities suffering the consequences of water pollution should be first in line to receive financial support to restore their local waterways. Making the polluter pay is a profoundly conservative idea, and the decision by this government to increase the amount that water companies can be fined and then to ring fence this money for local efforts to improve water quality is a welcome application of this important principle.”


CEN MP Sir Charles Walker commented:


“As England is home to almost all of the world’s chalk streams, we have a duty to protect and restore them so they may be admired and enjoyed for generations to come. For the sake of our biodiversity and our water security, I am delighted that the government will be supporting the delivery of the National Chalk Stream Restoration Strategy and providing the investment required to do so.”

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