Lib Dems call for New Protections for Mid Wales Rivers

14 Jun 2024
Glyn Preston in front of the River Severn

The Liberal Democrats have announced a massive expansion of marine protected areas and a new Blue Flag status for rivers will be included in their general election manifesto. 

In response to sewage being pumped into bathing water status rivers, the party has announced plans for new Blue Flag rivers, setting legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping in those sites. Blue Flag rivers would give special protected status for swimmers and wildlife. 

The current government bathing water scheme has failed to protect waterways from sewage discharges by only requiring increased water quality testing. Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found in 2021 Dŵr Cymru discharged sewage into bathing water areas across Wales 7,888 times for over 63,598 hours. Dŵr Cymru has since failed to report sewage discharges in bathing waters since 2021.

The Liberal Democrats are also announcing new plans to protect coastal marine wildlife, which would see the expansion of the blue belt of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Marine environments are currently in a state of crisis due to sewage and plastic pollution.

Commenting Lib Dem Candidate for Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr Cllr Glyn Preston said: 

“Our precious rivers and coastlines have been destroyed after years of a Conservative government letting water firms get away with environmental vandalism.

“Meanwhile the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff Bay has also failed to use the powers they have available to them to tackle the issue.

“As a County Councillor for Llanidloes, the first town on the River Severn, I am really passionate about making sure we reverse this mess. Designating more rivers with bathing status would go a huge way in improving the situation.”

Adding his comments, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe David Chadwick said:

“From the River Wye, to the Tawe and Usk. We are blessed to have some of the country’s most beautiful rivers on our doorstep, but the vandalism that has been inflicted on them is heart breaking.

“It is time we got tough on polluting and profiteering water firms. Conservative MPs and Welsh Labour Ministers have stood by whilst swimmers have become ill and wildlife killed by sewage discharges. 

“This scandal has to end now. The Liberal Democrats will have the boldest manifesto on cleaning up our rivers and coastlines. Families should be free to swim safely in the knowledge that our waters are not polluted with sewage.”


David Chadwick in front of the River
David Chadwick in front of the River Usk

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