SOLIHULL’S MP has spoken out on why he voted against an amendment relating to storm overflows in the Environment Bill.
Julian Knight told The Observer he voted ‘against an amendment to the Environment Bill passing unlimited costs onto consumers’ and the bill he supported would provide a mandate for an urgent action plan for new infrastructure.
Last week, MPs voted by 268 to 204 to disagree with an amendment to the Environment Bill tabled in the Lords which sought to place a new duty on water companies to reduce raw sewage discharges into rivers and demonstrate reductions in the harm caused by the discharges.
Following the vote MPs who voted against the amendment have been targeted by online by campaigners amid shock more wasn’t being done to prevent the dumping of sewage.
Since then the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced the Environment Bill will be strengthened with an amendment that will see a duty enshrined in law to ensure water companies secure a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows.
The department said the amendment it would bring forward in the Commons would be ‘very similar to amendment 45’ which peers are debating in the House of Lords.
Mr Knight said: “Designed for use during extreme weather, these overflows prevent sewers becoming overloaded with a combination of sewage and rainwater.
“However, climate change has led to increased rainfall and water infrastructure has not kept pace with development growth over decades.
“I am therefore glad that the Government has already taken action on this issue, amending the Environment Bill to help crack down on the pollution in our rivers, waterways and coastlines, to better tackle the harm that overflows cause.
“My colleagues and I voted against an amendment to the Environment Bill passing unlimited costs onto consumers.
“Discharges can only be stopped by new infrastructure, the Bill I supported allows the mandate to accelerate this with an urgent action plan.”