Latest Raw Sewage Figures: What’s in our Waterways?


3rd May 2022

The Environment Agency (Defra) released the 2021 sewage discharge figures for England in March. The data is provided by Water and Sewage Companies (WaSCs) annually and provides information for monitored storm overflows, the 1,800 without monitors are planned to be fitted by end of 2023.
Download the data from the Defra website here.

According to Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) analysis, there were at least 372,500 sewage spills totaling over 2.6 million hours of raw sewage being dumped in our waterways.
Read more on the SAS website here.

Top of the Poops analysis of the Defra data shows that the situation in Oxfordshire is mostly improving – albeit by small margins. However, there were still 3,045 sewage spills, totaling 40,233 hours of untreated sewage discharge throughout Oxfordshire in 2021.

The Rivers Trust has also updated its Sewage Map with the latest 2021 data.
It’s not just Oxfordshire’s rivers at risk of sewage spills, the map shows a large number of storm sewage overflows discharging untreated, raw sewage, into brooks and streams.
Check out the map on the Rivers Trust website.

Have your say

The Government is currently consulting on its Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan. We are told this will be the largest investment to tackle storm sewage discharges in the history of the water sector and aims to protect the environment and public health while restoring rivers.

CPRE Oxfordshire is concerned that:

  • Targets run until 2050, but action is needed much sooner
  • Pressure is focused on the water industry but the Government and water regulators need to take action too
  • We would like to see an ambition to end sewage pollution entering UK bathing waters by 2030 and the support to ensure this happens.  

The consultation closes on 12th May, read and respond on the Defra website here:
Consultation on the Government’s Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan

Surfers Against Sewage have produced various guides to help you respond to the consultation and lobby your MP. See more on the SAS website.

Read the CPRE Oxfordshire response here.