Conservative MPs vote down sewage sickness compensation scheme 

5 Dec 2023

EMBARGO: For Immediate Release

The Liberal Democrats have slammed Conservative MPs for voting against a compensation scheme for swimmers who get sick from sewage.

The amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, would have allowed those who get sick as a result of illegal sewage dumping to claim compensation from water companies. However, it was voted down in the Commons this evening (Monday 4 December) after Conservative MPs lined up to oppose it.

It comes despite a recent report which found a staggering 1,924 cases of people getting sick due to suspected sewage pollution over the last year, nearly triple the number of cases reported in the previous year.

Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

“Conservative MPs have yet again voted to let water companies off the hook by blocking our call for a sewage sickness compensation scheme.

“It is an absolute disgrace. Not content with allowing the water firms to pump their filthy sewage into our rivers and beaches, now the Conservative Party is refusing to support people who fall sick from this disgusting practice.

“It is a sad state of affairs when swimmers are falling seriously sick from sewage while water company bosses trouser millions in bonuses.

“The Liberal Democrats will keep fighting to hold water companies and this Conservative government to account and get justice for the victims of this sewage scandal.”


Notes to Editor

Surfers Against Sewage report on cases of people getting sick due to suspected sewage pollution.

Liberal Democrat DEFRA Spokesperson Tim Farron tabled the following amendments at Report Stage of the Victims and Prisoners Bill

New Clause 10

To move the following Clause— 

“Sewage Illness Victim Compensation Scheme 

(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations provide for a compensation scheme for victims who have suffered harm as a direct result of criminal conduct in relation to sewage and waste water. 

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) must— (a) provide for the payment of compensation to people who have become unwell as a result of bathing in water contaminated by sewage, (b) make provision in relation to the medical evidence required to support a claim for compensation under the regulations. 

(3) Regulations under this section may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.” 

Clause 28

Clause 1, page 1, line 16, at end insert— 

“(e) where the person has suffered harm as a direct result of criminal conduct in relation to sewage and waste water”