There is a deeper side to polluted Britain. Here I think beyond household waste dumped on street corners, and construction debris fly tipped in the countryside. That deeper side is the water in our rivers, water I could once drink safely as a child.
However, this time the criminals are not small business people and careless individuals. The people who should be prosecuted for the offence are businesses and yes, government officials too!
Anglian Water Adds to Polluted Britain Again
The River Nene rises from three sources in Northamptonshire. Then it passes through a hundred miles of countryside and villages, before it discharges into The Wash. Eighty-eight miles of Britain’s tenth-longest river are navigable, representing an extensive human interface.
In the course of its meanderings the Nene intersects Stanground Lode in Peterborough. It was at this point that an Anglian Water contractor allowed untreated sewage to leak into the water on 27 December 2018. Incredibly, this may have continued for ten hours unnoticed.
The authority and the contractor both failed to report the matter to Environment Agency. In fact, the Agency may have never known about yet another example of polluted Britain, but for the concerned resident who reported 2,400 dead roach, bream, pike, and critically-endangered European eel floating in the river.
To our mind this puts fly tipping waste in Mitcham, Beckenham and other parts of Greater London in context. Matters finally came to a head on 1 June 2022 at Peterborough Magistrates Court. It handed down a total £60,000 penalty, which was Anglian Water’s third one this year.
How Do We Still Manage To Do These Things
This shocking incident deserves a high ranking in Avery Associates reviews of failing environmental government in Britain. We can’t say whether better law enforcement might have prevented it, but the fact is a sewer collapsed and leaked into the river.
To add to the sorry tale of woe, pieces of rag and baby wipes blocked an attempt to return the flow to the system. We sometimes find similar items blocking bathrooms during house clearances in semi-derelict homes, especially where compulsive hoarders lived.
Are Polluted Rivers in Britain Becoming Normal?
The rivers and streams that once flowed through Beckenham, Mitcham and other parts of Anglia could be unrecognizable today. That’s because they are now canalised, or forced underground through musty sewers. But even those that flow freely in others parts of England are under increasing threat from pollution. Things are so bad they drove Local Government Association spokesperson David Renard to make this thought-provoking statement:
“Councils want safe, clean, thriving natural environments alongside the sustainable development of housing, growth and jobs.
“It is concerning and frustrating that pollution levels in some rivers have reached a point to trigger bans on building around 20,000 new homes each year, over seven per cent of all England’s likely new house building.
“People need homes, schools and doctors’ surgeries, and people also need a safe and clean environment.
How Could Polluted Britain Deteriorate Like This?
Local Government Association bemoans the fact this problem has been developing for some time. However, this time we can’t blame dumped household waste, or fly tipping in Greater London Beckingham and others for the scourge. That’s because the root cause for Britain’s polluted rivers lies mainly with agriculture and water companies.
Continuing with the story, it’s evident Local Government Association (LGA) has been working within the system to reduce the pollution at source. This means water company officials, contractors and farmers have to clean up their act.
How the Habitats Directive Law Comes Into Play
The Habitats Directive seeks to preserve protected sites and species. It can prevent new building construction, unless there are guarantees this will not create additional pollution in areas under threat. LGA reports this alarming situation:
- A total 23 councils have more than 90% of their likely new house building areas impacted by this law.
- Moreover, some 40 have over a quarter of their projects affected, meaning their housing shortages will continue.
- Almost a third of building sites in the whole of the Northeast of England are impacted by decades of neglect.
Are We (You and Us) to Blame for Polluted Britain?
We can’t blame any particular political party, or senior government official for this. That’s because the deterioration has continued well beyond their periods in office. We have to be honest and say our baby boomers slept through their watch. And we have to ask our current leaders ‘What ARE YOU doing about THIS MESS?”
This truly is a ‘one stop shop’ for all things relating to Probate valuations and clearance. Jeffrey is a ‘facilitator’ and full marks to him for finding a niche market all those years back. Adam and Paul did a sterling job in clearing my late brother’s property and with good humour too. Jeffrey valued the contents and arranged a RICS Surveyor to carry out a ‘Red Book’ valuation. Job done! During the entire process, I was kept informed. Thank you so much. I live 100 miles away from the property and I needn’t have worried. Everything went according to Jeffrey’s plan! I warmly recommend them. (J Schon)
Preview Image: The River Nene at Dusk