Monday, 2 February 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP seeks assurances from Government over River Thames water conditions

Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, Stephen Metcalfe has been particularly keen to seek reassurances on British waters, as his constituency sits on the River Thames and is therefore directly affected by Government policy.

Stephen Metcalfe, rising on the floor of the House of Commons and addressing the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asked: “What steps she has taken to improve the cleanliness of Britain's rivers and waterways”.

Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss replied: “We have made good progress and cleaned up more than 10,000 miles of our rivers. Pollution from sewage has gone down significantly. During this Parliament, phosphate pollution will fall by a fifth and ammonia by a sixth. This shows that a healthy environment goes hand in hand with a healthy economy.”

Stephen Metcalfe then asked: “The Thames is not only England’s longest river, but east of here and down to my constituency it is also the most populated. What steps are the Government taking to clean up the river, while balancing the needs of the users and flora and fauna?”

The Secretary of State replied: “My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the River Thames. It is vital not only for London but for our whole country, and it is unacceptable that at present raw sewage is regularly pumped into the Thames. That is why we are taking action, through projects such as the Thames tideway tunnel, to reduce that vastly.”

Stephen Metcalfe, commenting later, said: “It is so important that Britain’s rivers and waterways are kept to the highest of standards. They are an important part of so many people’s lives, especially here in Basildon and Thurrock and the rest of Essex.”

“It is crucial for local residents that Government acts responsibly on these matters, and that is why I am so pleased to hear the Government’s reassurances today. It is good to see the Conservatives taking action.”