Tories can't blame the Victorians for sewage pollution

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Tories can’t blame the Victorians for sewage pollution
© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Global Warming Images/Alamy

Blaming human sewage pollution in all our rivers and miles of coastal waters on “Victorian infrastructure”, as Conservative MPs have done (UK government U-turns on sewage after Tory MPs threaten rebellion, 26 October), is like Kent county council’s charge that the Romans are to blame for the potholes in Kent’s roads.

Investment in our water and sewage infrastructure should have begun the moment Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation of the 10 regional water companies began in 1989. Instead, huge dividends to shareholders and enormous CEO salaries gobbled up a large part of the £150-£660bn that might have given us clean water today.

My local Conservative MP offered reassurance to constituency campaigners only last week, the same week in which she voted down the amendment to legally compel water companies to reduce sewage pollution. Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow ministers naively think shareholders could use their influence to get repairs done more quickly.

Tories can’t blame the Victorians for sewage pollution
© Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Global Warming Images/Alamy Raw sewage mixing with clean water in the River Kent, Cumbria: ‘The government and the water companies cannot even be trusted to ensure clean rivers.’

Where are Labour’s 2017 and 2019 manifestos that set out a plan for renationalisation? We are about to go into Cop26 talks. This government and the water companies cannot even be trusted to ensure clean rivers and coastal waters in our own country.

Rosie Brocklehurst-Franczak

St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex

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