National park rivers being treated as an ‘open sewer’

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The utilities giant spewed untreated effluent into the life-force of the New Forest for 1,900 hours in 2021 – and 900 times over the last three reported years. Yesterday Charles Watson, of charity River Action, said: “It just seems inconceivable that Europe’s favourite National Park is being treated like an open sewer by Southern Water. We urge it to disclose immediately what measures it plans to take to end this abuse.”

Southern Water, which straddles an area from Kent to Hants, expelled the raw sewage into the Lymington and Beaulieu Rivers, which feed streams and the forest.

River Action has written to the firm’s chief executive Lawrence Gosden to demand it ends the filthy practice.

But Professor Russell Wynn, of environment group Wild New Forest, said: “Inadequate monitoring of fauna and flora in and near the affected rivers means we simply don’t know what impact these discharges are having on protected habitats and species – and the extent of long-term damage.”

The Daily Express Green Britain Needs You campaign highlights the state of our waterways.

Southern Water said its boss would be “delighted” to meet River Action, adding: “We’re a key steward of water quality, investing record amounts to protect and enhance the environment.”

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