England and Wales have seen at least 388 years’ worth of sewage pumped into water in 2021, a shocking report has revealed.

Numbers from the Environment Agency show that many rivers and waterways in the country are significantly polluted, with the River Severn being the most contaminated. The river witnessed 28,741 hours of sewage pumped into it on 2,656 occasions by Severn Trent Water.

The River Wye, River Severn, and River Usk are the most polluted in Wales, with Dwr Cymru being the responsible company. Campaigners are calling on the government to take immediate action to address the worsening problem.

Some environmental experts have warned that water pollution is putting wildlife and people’s health at risk.

The report comes as Tory government ministers are reportedly rowing back on multimillion-pound fines for water companies spilling sewage.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey thinks that fines of up to £250 million for such polluters are “disproportionate”. However, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said during a visit to Oldham that he would “welcome tougher fines for water companies”.

The report highlights the need for tough laws to hold water companies accountable for their actions. 

Environmental groups have called for tougher penalties for water companies that spill sewage and for the introduction of new laws to hold company executives accountable for their actions.

The full list

1. River Severn - Severn Trent Water

2. River Calder - Yorkshire Water

3. River Aire - Yorkshire Water

4. Unknown - South West Water

5. River Derwent - Severn Trent Water

6. River Ouse - Yorkshire Water

7. River Tamar - South West Water

8. River Trent - Severn Trent Water

9. River Teifi - Dwr Cymru

10. River Eden - United Utilities

11. River Erewash - Severn Trent Water

12. River Usk - Dwr Cymru

13. River Irwell - United Utilities

14. River Wye - Dwr Cymru

15. River Don - Yorkshire Water

16. River Wharfe - Yorkshire Water

17. River Tawe - Dwr Cymru

18. Menai Strait - Dwr Cymru

19. River Rother - Southern Water

20. River Taf - Dwr Cymru