A new analysis of Environment Agency data by the Welsh Liberal Democrats have revealed that Welsh Water has dumped sewage onto our Blue Flag beaches 579 times, lasting an astonishing 6,757 hours.
The worst incident was on Poppit Sands Beach near Cardigan with sewage dumped 79 times lasting 1,518 hours. South Beach in Aberystwyth had the highest number of incidents at 142.
Preseli Pembrokeshire ranks as the constituency with the highest number of sewage dumps in the whole of England and Wales with 6754 dumps in 2021 (79,501 hours). Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and Dwyfor Meirionnydd come a close second and third.
The shocking new findings follow a major report by Surfers Against Sewage this week which reported illegal “dry spills” are taking place, meaning water companies, including Welsh Water, are discharging sewage even when there has not been heavy rainfall.
The report also found an increase in the number of cases of people being sick after swimming in natural waters. Including a case study in Poppit Sands.
Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Labour Government to ban bonuses for water bosses until the dumps are halted and for the money being given as bonuses to be directed into improving infrastructure. They are also campaigning for more investment in Natural Resources Wales to save Wales’ swimming spots and enforce high standards.
Over the last 2 years, executives at Welsh Water have received £2.4 million – including £808,000 in bonuses – whilst they continue to dump raw sewerage into our precious rivers and lakes and market themselves as a not-for-profit.
Commenting, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Senedd Member for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds said:
“While Welsh Water bosses make huge bonuses, we are left to swim in raw sewage. Many families in Wales are worried that a trip to the beach with the kids, building sandcastles and playing in the sea, could now make them sick. It’s not fair, and Wales deserves better.
“The Welsh Labour government must show leadership and protect our beaches. They shouldn’t hide behind inaction from the Conservatives at Westminster: they have the power in the Senedd to clean up our water, restore nature and make our beaches safe again.”
“The government cannot let water bosses get away with this any longer. They should listen to Liberal Democrat calls to stop water bosses rewarding themselves for failure and to invest in protections and clean ups of our treasured beaches and rivers, before it is too late.”
Adding her concern to the number of incidents Ceredigion Liberal Democrat Leader & Aberaeron and Aberarth Councillor Elizabeth Evans said:
“Ceredigion Liberal Democrats have been raising the issue of sewage dumping in our rivers and seas for quite some time now, this latest report only confirms our fears.
“This practice is endangering human health, our local wildlife and the tourism industry that places like Ceredigion and West Wales as a whole rely on.
“It is quite frankly a scandal that the Labour-Plaid Cymru partnership in Cardiff Bay is not taking urgent action to ban sewage dumping.
“At the very least they could back Liberal Democrat calls for a ban on bonuses for the bosses of Welsh Water, which is officially a ‘non-profit’ until they get the issue under control.”