May 22nd, 2023.

Lewes Lib Dems release:

James MacCleary, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Lewes, has called for Southern Water to be overhauled following an overdue apology for sewage dumping.

In a statement issued through Water UK, water and sewage companies admitted to dragging their heels on taking action to stop sewage discharges into our coastlines, rivers and lakes.

In the wake of this announcement, James MacCleary says the apology is far too late, and that it is meaningless unless the firm is completely reformed.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for water firms to become “public benefit companies,” making environmental goals more important than profits, and making it compulsory for environmental experts to sit on their company boards. This would put an end to billions of pounds being wasted in dividends whilst sewage destroys waterways.

Local Liberal Democrats are also demanding an apology from Lewes' Conservative MP, Maria Caulfield, for voting down tougher action on water firms.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Lewes constituency, James MacCleary, said: “This announcement is too little too late after years of putting public health at risk and large-scale environmental damage, which has previously been arrogantly dismissed by the water industry. The water companies and the government are both determined that any investment that Southern Water and others are forced to make is passed onto local residents in increased bills.

“This apology means nothing unless the firm is completely reformed from top to bottom. Protecting the environment should be more important than making overseas investors rich. Sadly, Southern Water still has their priorities all wrong.

"I am proud that Liberal Democrats have been leading the fight to hold these water companies to account and are now proposing the kind of real change that is needed to start cleaning up our waterways and ensuring that profits from these vital utilities are reinvested in our communities.

“By contrast, our Conservative MP and government minister, Maria Caulfield, has spent recent years voting down tougher action on polluting water firms. They too owe people an apology.”

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