Gloucestershire County Council has held the inaugural meeting of the group tasked with cleaning our county’s rivers.
The Liberal Democrats first brought a motion to Full Council back in September 2020 calling for the County Council to take urgent action to clean our county’s rivers. Now, 11 months after the council voted to take “urgent action”, the inaugural meeting has finally taken place.
Our county’s rivers are flooded with harmful pollutants, including raw sewage discharged from Gloucestershire’s water companies: Severn Trent, Thames Water and Wessex Water. Back in 2019, these companies were found to have discharged into English Rivers for a combined 400,000 hours.
The task group will have powers to hold the county’s polluters to account, as well as:
- Investigating the extent of pollution present in our rivers
- Investigating the extent of the damage this pollution is having on the ecosystems within our rivers and the safety issue it poses.
- Scrutinising the activities of water companies and other polluters, and to challenge them to change their behaviour.
- Developing an action plan to create a series of designated bathing spots in some of Gloucestershire’s rivers to make them safe for the public to enjoy.
Commenting on the welcome development, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Lib Dem Group leader and Clean and Green spokesperson, said:
“I’m delighted that the County Council has finally made good on its promise to get on with the job of cleaning our county’s rivers.
“The inaugural meeting was a critical step to determine the direction this task group would take, and I’m pleased to see that my council colleagues are similarly ambitious in their hopes to hold polluters to account and clean our county’s rivers.
“In the coming weeks and months we’ll be bringing in water companies and expert witnesses to provide their account of why our rivers are choked by pollution, and creating an action plan to make our rivers safe for wildlife and our residents.”