Climate warning
Image of Southern Water

Southern Water

Climate warning

No swimming, no surfing: how a summer of sewage is ruining the British seaside day out

The sun has been shining on Scarborough’s South Bay all week, but Steve Crawford isn’t opening up the surf shop he’s so proud of – “mahogany door, views over to the castle” – because the water isn’t safe to swim in. “My business has vanished overnight,” he says. “On coronation weekend, the red flags went up warning people not to go in the water because of poor water quality, and now there are signs at every access point to the beach saying ‘No swimming’.” Poor water quality linked to pollution has been a problem here for many years. But this is the first time Crawford has had to shut completely. Most days I can’t face coming down here,” he says. “I’ve been surfing since I was nine, I’ve run the shop in this old Victorian spa building for 17 years. Right now, I should be sitting outside, drinking coffee and chatting to people about surfing. But it’s all gone. My livelihood has evaporated.”here and across the country, just as Britain’s beaches should be filling up, sewage and pollution are shutting them down. The figures are alarming. Between 15 May and 30 September last year, sewage was dumped into designated bathing waters more than 5,000 times. There were an average of 825 sewage spills every single day into England’s waterways in 2022. In the north west, United Utilities discharged untreated sewage almost 70,000 times last year, while Severn Trent Water discharged sewage through storm overflows 44,765 times in the same period. In just a single eight-day stretch, Southern Water dumped more than 3,700 hours’ worth of sewage at 83 bathing water beaches. fb-messenger://share?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fenvironment%2F2023%2Fjun%2F18%2Fno-swimming-no-surfing-how-a-summer-of-sewage-is-ruining-the-british-seaside-day-out%3FCMP%3Dshare_btn_me&app_id=180444840287

Do you agree?

9 more agrees trigger contact with the recipient

  • George Kariuki

    50 w

    It is crucial to prioritize the health of our oceans, support affected communities, and work collectively to ensure that everyone can enjoy clean and safe coastal environments.

    • Kevin

      51 w

      This is a great miss..totally unethical

      7
      • Tabitha Kimani

        51 w

        This is not ethical. The government should be in a position to protect its citizens against the unscrupulous companies.

        3
        • Emma Pattinson

          51 w

          It's abhorrent. If we were caught fly tipping, we'd be fined and face a prison sentence. The CEOs of water companies are giving themselves bonuses. Something needs to be done !

          1
          • rosebellendiritu

            51 w

            When water is contaminated people are given a warning but what about the many creatures that live in there and maybe are suffering in the same water and have nowhere else to go?it's sad

            3
            • Mc Kaka

              51 w

              Authorities should act immediately!

              2
              • Joyce Waturu

                51 w

                What are the water and sewer authorities as well as the ministry of health doing about this?

                12
                • Joseph Githinji

                  51 w

                  This is so disturbing, we need accountability from companies and homes dumping sewage in waterways. We must keep all water streams clean.

                  10
                  Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
                  Post youtube preview with preloading
                  youtube overlay

                  Write or agree to climate reviews to make businesses and world leaders act. It’s easy and it works.

                  Write a climate review

                  Voice your opinion on how businesses and organizations impact the climate.
                  0 trees planted

                  One tree is planted for every climate review written to an organization that is Open for Climate Dialogue™.

                  Download the app

                  We plant a tree for every new user.

                  AppleAndroid